BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — In early April 2021, Kamiya “Cookie” Dufermeau was a happy, healthy 7-year-old girl. A month later, Kamiya was dead.
In a wrongful death lawsuit filed Monday, attorneys for Kamiya’s mother, Sherry Robinson, claim that doctors at Children’s of Alabama “failed to meet the applicable standards of care in diagnosing and treating Kamiya” after she had a routine appendectomy earlier this year. That failure of care, the suit says, led to Kamiya’s death.
In mid-April, Kamiya became sick, the complaint says. She had a fever, was nauseous, and had stomach pain. Her family brought Kamiya to the emergency room at Children’s Hospital in Birmingham on April 18. After being assessed, she was given medication for appendicitis as part of a “nonsurgical conservative therapy.” She was discharged on April 19.
Her mother’s suit says that on April 26, Kamiya’s condition worsened. Her parents called Children’s and told them that Kamiya was “curled up in a ball” from pain. Staff advised her parents to bring Kamiya back to the emergency department, which they did.
On April 27, Dr. Colin Martin performed a laparoscopic appendectomy on Kamiya, according to the lawsuit. Her family’s lawyer, Dr. Francois Blaudeau, said that the surgery was “unremarkable.”
On May 3, Kamiya returned to school, but when she returned home, she was “lethargic, tired, and weak.”
The following day, her mother took Kamiya to a pediatrician, Dr. Theresa Bolus, at Midtown Pediatrics, which is owned and operated by Children’s of Alabama.
During this visit, Kamiya “showed signs and symptoms of a post-surgical complication, including nausea, vomiting, lethargy, and emesis, which Dr. Bolus witnessed,” the lawsuit says.
“The standard of care for a pediatrician required Dr. Bolus to recognize the signs and symptoms of a postsurgical complication and intervene appropriately, including a physical exam of the abdomen and imaging studies,” according to the suit, but instead, Bolus “dismissed Kamiya’s signs and symptoms as the result of pinworms” and conducted no physical exam on Bolus.
Following the visit, Sherry Robinson spoke with staff at Dr. Martin’s office who said to rely on Dr. Bolus’ medical advice, which involved treating the pinworms with oral medication at home.
The next day, Kamiya still wasn’t feeling well.
“The mother was still concerned about the child, and she contemplated going to the emergency room,” Dr. Blaudeau told CBS 42. “Ultimately, she decided to trust the doctors, who told her it was okay.”
What happened next continues to haunt Kamiya’s family.
“The baby ended up having a seizure, coding in front of her grandmother,” Blaudeau said. “So you can imagine the trauma of that experience.”
Kamiya’s grandmother called 911, the suit says. When EMS arrived, Kamiya did not have a pulse and paramedics tried to revive her. When Kamiya arrived back at Children’s Hospital, she had a “thready” pulse. She was pronounced dead at 7:48 p.m.
“The Jefferson County Associate Medical Examiner concluded that Kamiya Dufermeau’s death was caused by complications of her recent appendectomy performed by Children’s Hospital and Dr. Martin,” the lawsuit states.
“It’s one of these stories that just makes you feel bad all the way around,” Blaudeau said.
As Kamiya’s birthday approaches, Sherry Robinson is still grieving.
“Baby girl,” she wrote in a post addressed to her daughter, “Mommy is so numb, and the closer it gets to your birthday, the more numb I become.”
Robinson isn’t just asking the court, but God, for help in this time.
“Lord, give me the strength,” she posted. “This pain is unbearable… Kamiya, I miss you so much. I would do anything to hear your voice again.”
When reached for comment, representatives from Children’s of Alabama stated “due to federal privacy rules we are unable to comment on a report of litigation.”
You can read the full lawsuit below.