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Doctor sued after teen dies

COVINGTON - The parents of a 14-year-old boy who died of pneumonia in May have filed a wrongful death suit against the local pediatrician who initially treated him.

According to the civil action filed in Newton County Superior Court on Monday, Dennis and Margaret Hewell allege that Dr. Faull S. Trover "breached the standard of care and skill ordinarily employed by the medical profession" in treating their son Jacob.

The Hewells allege that Trover failed to take Jacob's vital signs and order a chest X-ray, a deviation in care that resulted in his death.

According to the complaint, Trover saw Jacob on May 23, when the boy was complaining of a high fever, a burning in his chest and a stomach ache. A screen test for strep throat came back negative. Trover's diagnosis was acute sinusitis, for which he prescribed Amoxil, an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections.

Margaret Hewell gave a sworn affidavit stating that she told the doctor that Jacob was congested and coughing up mucus.

"Dr. Trover told me to give Jake Mucinex. I asked Dr. Trover about Jake's fever. Dr. Trover said to give Jake Motrin and Tylenol. Dr. Trover said it was normal to have a fever with a sinus infection," Hewell stated.

At 4 a.m. on May 25, Jacob arrived unconscious at Newton Medical Center with respiratory failure.

Following a chest X-ray, the emergency physician diagnosed bilateral pneumonia, meaning the pneumonia was in both lungs.

Jacob was transferred to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston and was pronounced dead at 8:19 a.m.

An autopsy revealed the cause of death to be acute bronchopneumonia.

Also included in the complaint is an affidavit by Dr. Lawrence C. Vogel, a professor of pediatrics at Rush Medical College in Chicago.

Vogel states that in his opinion, Trover breached standard care by failing to take Jacob's vital signs and order a chest X-ray, resulting in his death.

"This Affidavit is given for use by the Plaintiff pursuant to O.C.G.A. 9-11-9.1 in order to 'set forth specifically at least one negligent act or omission claimed to exist and the factual basis for such claim.' It is not the purpose of this Affidavit to set forth each and every criticism which I have regarding the care and treatment of Jacob Hewell," Vogel stated.

The Hewells are seeking a jury trial, a judgment in excess of $10,000, expenses covered by the defendant and other relief deemed just and equitable by the court.

The Hewell's attorney, Erik H. Olson of The Olson Law Firm LLC would give no further comment.

The office manager at Trover's practice said he was out of the office on an emergency and could not be reached for comment.