4-year-old dies in escalator accident, family donates his heart

After the tragic death of an Auburn, Massachusetts, 4-year-old boy, his family has donated his heart to boy in need. According to the Worcester Telegram and Gazette, the organ donation was first announced publicly at the boy’s funeral last weekend.

The child was killed when he fell from an escalator earlier this month while shopping with his mom at the Auburn Mall. The accident occurred inside the Sears store when the boy reportedly reached with both hands for the moving rail on the escalator going the opposite way and fell between the six-inch gap separating them. The boy then fell two stories.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety Commissioner, the gap should not have been there if the escalators had been up to code.

Following the accident, two Massachusetts safety inspectors who had last checked the escalators were suspended. The remaining escalators that the two were assigned to check will now all be re-checked.

The young boy fell on a Friday and died that weekend at the UMass Medical Center.

Every day we put our safety, and the safety of our children, in the hands of others when we trust that public places are safe and free from hazards. Unfortunately, tragedies like this remind us that even with safety codes in place, public places can still be very dangerous.

While it is not known if the boy’s family in this story will bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the mall or the inspectors of the escalator, it is certainly possible as it appears that negligence could have been a contributing factor in the accident.

Often times, wrongful death lawsuits are brought by the family of a person killed against the person, people, or entity liable for the death. While the statutes on wrongful death vary from state to state, all states allow parents to bring wrongful death lawsuits for the loss of children who had already been born.

Primary Resource: 7 News WHDH, “Auburn escalator victim’s heart to be donated,” Sunbeam Television Corp., 3/23/2011. Secondary Resource: 7 News WHDH, “2 safety inspectors off job after child falls, dies,” Sunbeam Television Corp., 3/15/2011.