Ochsner admits vaccinating Kenner student without permission; mother’s lawyer threatens lawsuit
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A mother in Kenner plans to sue after her 16-year-old son managed to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by turning in a consent form without a parent’s signature last week at an Ochsner Health school event, her lawyer said Saturday (Oct. 23).
“Suit is being prepared and will be filed,” Lafayette-based attorney Shelly Maturin told WVUE-Fox 8.
Maturin said he is representing Jennifer Ravain and her 16-year-old son, an East Jefferson High School student not of legal age to consent to receiving the shot he took last Wednesday at an Ochsner mobile vaccination event at his school. Maturin called the situation a “nightmare,” said it “should shock the conscience of all citizens of Louisiana,” and vowed in a written statement that “every legal avenue will be pursued to make sure that justice is served.”
Maturin said Saturday that Ochsner Health, the Jefferson Parish School Board and East Jefferson High School would be named as defendants in a lawsuit he intends to file in Jefferson Parish.
“The egregious and reckless actions of Ochsner and East Jefferson High School went well beyond any legal or moral bounds and, at a minimum, constitute a battery upon the minor child,” Maturin said. “Hopefully, this type of reckless behavior will stop immediately, and no other parents or children will have to go through this nightmare.”
In a written statement, Ochsner Health’s chief medical officer Dr. Robert Hart agreed that underage students should not be vaccinated without parental permission, and apologized that it had happened.
“Ochsner Health has worked closely with schools throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to keep faculty and students safe in the classroom and beyond, and we have been invited by schools to provide on-site vaccinations since the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Pfizer vaccine for adolescents ages 12-17,” Hart said.
“While we firmly believe in vaccinating adolescents to keep them safe from COVID-19, this should be done only with parental consent. Our team has been notified that a student was vaccinated without proper parental consent at a school vaccination event on Oct. 20. We have procedures in place to ensure that all policies are followed; however, in this instance, this did not occur. We have taken immediate action to review our on-site vaccination policies and to ensure that these policies will be strictly enforced moving forward.
“We are in communication with the parent who brought this to our attention. We offer our sincere regret and apology for any distress this has caused.”
Jefferson Parish School Board spokesperson Paris Vinnett said in a statement, “Ochsner Health officials have informed us that they are conducting a thorough investigation of the vaccine event to ensure this was an isolated incident and does not occur again. ... Our standard operating procedures include obtaining written consent from a parent or legal guardian prior to a student receiving the vaccine during an event conducted at one of our schools. We will continue to work with Ochsner Health and our other healthcare partners to ensure vaccination events conducted on our campuses follow this process.”
It was unclear what safeguards the school district, school administration or Ochsner inoculation personnel had in place to verify that a parental permission signature for vaccination was valid. But Hart said steps will be taken to prevent such occurrences in the future.
“We value the trust that parents put in us to care for their children,” Hart said. “And we are revising our school vaccination program to ensure that this does not happen again.”
The statement did not explain what those revisions would entail.
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