A Greenwood daycare will pay $1 million under a settlement with a family whose toddler died from an E.coli infection last year.
The family of two-year old Myles Mayfield will be awarded $1 million from The Learning Vine daycare, according to an announcement from the family’s attorney. The Greenwood County Coroner’s Office said Mayfield died from complications of E. coli in May 2015.
He was the only fatality among the 14 total confirmed cases that were linked to the center by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control in May and June. The daycare eventually agreed to temporarily close down for a few days of extensive cleaning and decontamination.
The wrongful death lawsuit was filed in state circuit court in August 2015. The lawsuit claims a teacher at the day care was the first known case of E.coli in early May. But it argues the center’s leaders did not take needed steps to prevent the teacher’s illness from spreading. It said parents were also never informed about the teacher’s illness.
“Myles first got sick on May 26th and tested positive for E. coli on May 29th,” said the family’s attorney Eric Hageman. “At that time, the Mayfield family had been told nothing about the presence of E. coli at The Learning Vine. Had they known on May 19th that a teacher who tested positive for E. coli was continuing to teach, in violation of state regulations, the Mayfields could have made a different choice with Myles. Instead, the family was kept in the dark and Myles died from the same strain of E. coli as the teacher had.”
The Learning Vine daycare has not yet commented on the settlement.
E.coli infections usually occur after an individual had some sort of contact with the feces of infected animals or other people, such as through diapers or eating food prepared by an infected person who did not properly wash their hands.
DHEC has said it believes the initial E.coli infection started outside the day care and was transmitted from person-to-person during mid-May. The agency said 14 confirmed cases were identified among 330 samples taken and no new infections were found after June 1.
“The result of the daycare’s failures in this case was as predictable as it was tragic,” Hageman said. “E. coli is incredibly dangerous to young children, which is why we require teachers to stay away until we know they are no longer a danger.”
Barry Mayfield, the family spokesperson, said in a statement that the lawsuit was never about receiving money. The family wanted those who were responsible for the death of their loved one, held accountable.
“All the money in the world can’t bring back Myles. By filing this lawsuit, we just wanted some accountability, so that no other family would ever have to lose a child the way our family did,” said Mayfield. “While we will forever feel the pain of the loss of Myles, we are dedicated to ensuring that his death was not in vain and that those responsible for operating daycares will follow the rules and will put the safety of children first.
Kimberly Washington contributed this report