Boy, 4, has part of finger cut off at school

January 15, 2011 5:33:51 AM PST
A four-year-old boy lost part of his finger after it got caught in a door at school, but what happened next has his parents upset.

HISD says the school officials didn't believe the injury was serious enough to call 9-1-1.

The little boy was hurt at Young Elementary School off Bellfort. He lost the part of his right pinky between his nail and first knuckle after it was severed by a door. Now, his parents are wondering why the child had to open the door for other classmates and why 9-1-1 wasn't called after the accident.

On Thursday morning, they both got phone calls from Young Elementary, where Joe'L goes to pre-K.

"The nurse she said, 'Mom, how soon can you get here?'" said Joe'L's mother, Latasha Hawks.

When Hawks arrived, she was told her son was holding a door open for classmates when it smashed into his pinky. The nurse told the parents to take Joe'L to a doctor.

"Just thinking about it, all the blood, and then my thing is why they couldn't call the ambulance, due to the fact he's losing this amount of blood?" she said.

The Houston Independent School District would not comment on camera, but in a statement, Young Principal Denese Wolff says:

"The teacher immediately took him to the school nurse who examined the injury ... In our nurse's professional opinion, the injury did not warrant calling 9-1-1."

The family disagrees.

"They should have called 9-1-1, 'cause no telling what kind of damage could have been done to his hand," said the boy's father, Joe Clement.

The school nurse did deliver the severed finger part to the clinic where Joe'L was being treated, but doctors say they couldn't reattach it, leaving his parents to wonder whether the outcome would have been different if the school called 9-1-1.

"Hurt, hurt real bad, just for my child to even experience that," Hawks said.

On its website, HISD says by state law, it can't be responsible for any on-campus accidents and offers parents accident insurance to buy every year. As for Joe'L, his parents say he has Medicaid and they are planning to take him to Texas Children's Hospital next week to try to see a hand specialist; but for now, they say any chance for his finger to get reattached is long gone.