Crime

Part of child's finger severed

Sanger school officials failed to seek outside medical help for a kindergartner whose fingertip was cut off by a closing door, his parents charge.

The April 18 accident was at Jackson Elementary School in the Sanger Unified School District.

Mother Rose Lozada said this week that she is concerned that a 5-year-old was allowed to walk unaccompanied to the office and that the school did not act more swiftly when her son was injured.

"The school really isn't taking any responsibility for what happened," Lozada said.

Lozada said that after the accident, her son Raul lay for about an hour on the nurse's cot while she drove from Fresno, where she works.

She said the nurse had not explained on the phone that the end of her son's finger had been severed, only that he needed medical attention after smashing his finger in the door.

Jackson Principal Brad Huebert declined to comment, saying it was district policy to refer media inquiries to district officials.

Richard Smith, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, said he could not discuss details involving a specific student. He did say that district policy is to supervise students at all times.

As to whether the district has a procedure regarding when to obtain immediate medical help for students, Smith said that it depends on the circumstances.

He also said the Lozada family had not contacted the district about the accident. Lozada said she called the district office the next school day after the incident, and was referred to officials at Jackson.

Lozada gave the following description of what happened:

Raul was taken to school by his grandmother and was about five minutes late. His teacher sent him to the office for a late slip, where he got his right index finger caught in the door. She said it was severed just above the nail cuticle. No one saw the accident.

A nurse wrapped the bleeding finger, at first not realizing the tip had been severed.

She retrieved the tip from the doorjamb and put it on ice in a plastic cup.

Although Lozada explained that she was a half-hour to 45 minutes away, the nurse did not suggest seeking another way to get her son medical attention.

When Lozada arrived and the nurse showed her the fingertip in the cup, Lozada said, she nearly fainted.

She rushed her son to Clovis Community Medical Center, but they were unable to reattach the end of the finger.

She said she does not know whether getting him to a surgeon earlier would have mattered.

Lozada and her husband, Raul S. Lozada, have hired an attorney to look into the case.

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