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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

N.M. attorney suing AGH on behalf of baby found dead in trash bag

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ARTESIA — A New Mexico attorney is suing Artesia General Hospital (AGH) on behalf of the infant boy found dead in a trash bag in January after his mother gave birth in a hospital bathroom.

Gary Mitchell, who is also representing the mother, 19-year-old Alexee Trevizo of Artesia, in the criminal case surrounding the infant’s death, has brought about a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the child. The infant is named in the lawsuit as Alex Ray Fierro.

Mitchell’s suit alleges that AGH staff were at fault for the infant’s death due to medications administered to Trevizo when she presented to the hospital late Jan. 26 complaining of back pain. Around half an hour later, just before 12:20 a.m. on Jan. 27, emergency room staff began administering medications that included morphine, Ketorolac and Ondansetron.

The lawsuit states that, although Trevizo denied being pregnant when questioned, the possibility should have been assumed. It also states that after a positive pregnancy determination was made at 12:51 a.m., staff continued to administer morphine.

The suit additionally claims AGH staff were negligent in allowing Trevizo to go to the bathroom unattended, where she proceeded to lock the door and give birth, afterward placing her infant son inside a trash bag, tying it, and placing it inside the trash can.

The criminal complaint stated hospital staff obtained the keys to the bathroom from security after Trevizo refused to exit, at which time she opened the door and returned to her room. A large amount of blood was found in the bathroom, and nurses began preparing her for airlift to Lovelace Medical Center in Roswell.

A custodian called to clean the bathroom found the infant dead in the trash bag. Trevizo allegedly told medical staff the baby was not breathing upon birth, but a report from the Office of the Medical Investigator (OMI) stated air in the lungs and stomach indicated the child was born alive. The cause of death was listed as entrapment, which occurs when an individual in an airtight or relatively airtight container runs out of oxygen.

Trevizo was charged with first-degree murder and tampering with evidence by the Fifth Judicial District Attorney’s office.

Mitchell’s suit, meanwhile, claims that it was the administration of morphine and AGH staff’s negligence that caused the infant’s death. Mitchell further alleges that Trevizo’s actions were a result of being under the influence of medication.

In addition to the wrongful death suit, Mitchell has filed a petition to dismiss the criminal case and also suppress evidence that could be used in the case, stating AGH staff violated HIPAA laws by allowing police to record interviews in the hospital during which Trevizo’s medical information was discussed and releasing her medical records to the police and the public without her consent.

Lapel cam videos of interviews with Trevizo, her family, and the family of her boyfriend have been widely leaked online.

Trevizo is currently scheduled for jury trial at 9 a.m. Feb. 1, 2024, before Judge Jane Shuler-Gray in Fifth Judicial District Court in Carlsbad.

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