Dad, lawyer claim neglect, racial discrimination to blame for 12-year-old’s death

Jul 2, 2021, 8:42 AM
urgent care, kaloni...
The urgent care building in Renton where Kaloni Bolton's sister first took her for treatment. (Photo courtesy of KIRO 7 TV)
(Photo courtesy of KIRO 7 TV)

Twelve-year-old Kaloni Bolton had been to the Renton Landing Urgent Care for her asthma in the past, so when she started having breathing issues on Dec. 29, 2020, that’s where her older sister took her for help. But, according to Kaloni Bolton’s father, Kevin Bolton, and his attorney Evan Oshan with Oshan and Associates, help was nowhere to be found.

According to federal and state complaints filed this week, when Kaloni arrived at The Renton Landing Urgent Care she was directed to the North Benson Urgent Care Clinic. Both clinics are operated by Valley Medical Center.

“When she went to North Benson Urgent Care Clinic, she was essentially told to wait in the car, which is what she did,” said Evan Oshan, the family attorney. “She waited in the car for at least a half hour, and eventually she received some treatment. She became non-responsive. Ultimately, she went to Seattle Children’s Hospital where she was transferred, and she was pronounced dead several days later.”

Now, in complaints filed this week with the U.S. Department of Justice, Washington Human Rights Commission, and Washington Medical Board, Kaloni’s father Kevin and his attorney are demanding answers from Valley Medical Center.

“I want to know what happened to my angel,” Kevin Bolton said in an interview.

He didn’t find out what happened until after Kaloni had been taken to Seattle Children’s, where she remained unresponsive.

“I got there, but at that point, she was in a coma. She had already fell into cardiac arrest while at urgent care,” Bolton explained.

“I demand to know why my daughter was denied medical treatment,” he added.

Oshan wants to know how a young girl showing up with breathing issues in the middle of the pandemic doesn’t get top priority.

“Why wasn’t she immediately given treatment?,” Oshan asked.

With COVID cases now ‘relatively stable,’ King County refocuses its response efforts

The larger question posed in the complaints is whether race – Kaloni was Black – played a role.

“We want to know what went on here. There’s been somewhat of a public outcry after her death, that there was racial injustice that went on here,” Oshan said. “She’s a 12-year-old, Black, disabled young lady who was basically told to go sit in the car when she was not able to breathe. And we want to know what happened here. We want to get to the bottom of this. We want to find out where the accountability lies.”

“Valley Medical Facility gets federal funds, and they’re required to be able to give Kaloni proper treatment. They failed her,” Oshan added.

Kevin Bolton just doesn’t understand how this happened.

“She’s been there several times. She was having a hard time at home with her machine. It was not working as it should have been. So she went into urgent care, hoping they’d put her on the machines and she’s able to walk out and be fine,” he explained. “On this day when she went in, one of the machine’s didn’t work. They went to get the next machine that machine didn’t have any oxygen in it. At this point, my daughter panicked and that’s when she screamed her last words, ‘Mia, I can’t breathe.’”

The last six months have been hard for the Bolton family.

“Her mom, her siblings, like I said, we all need answers. We’re obviously in the dark. We don’t know anything. Valley has never reached out to me. Urgent care has never reached out to me. I’ve heard nothing from nobody. It’s like it just swept under the rug,” Bolton said.

“We need to get to the bottom of this. We need to find out what happened here, and if it was racially motivated, people need to be held accountable. They need to be taken to justice, and we will get justice for Kolani,” Oshan said.

As far as what comes next, and whether there will be a lawsuit:

“At this point, we need answers. We need to know what went wrong. Why this 12-year-old girl was basically denied the treatment that she was not only entitled to but was required to be given to her. And only then will we know whether we’re moving forward with a lawsuit or what course of action we’re going to take,” Oshan explained.

“We want complete and utter transparency from all the parties that were involved in this, where they erred, where they screwed up. And if it was racially motivated, we will get to the bottom of this. And we will hold those individuals accountable,” he added.

“It’s my understanding that they’ve put some procedures in place to try to do things better in the future. But we have a 12-year old little girl who had her whole life ahead of her that was basically taken away from her,” Oshan said.

For now, as Kevin Bolton awaits those answers, he tries to focus on the memories.

“Everyone loved Kaloni, she had a beautiful smile. She was an outgoing person, she loved crafts. She loved for me to go crab and bring her back crab. She loved to dance. And she was just getting into her teen years. So she was becoming this little young lady. I was ready for those teen years,” Kevin Bolton recalled.

“I miss my baby. I miss my baby,” he added.

Valley Medical issued this statement on Kaloni’s death earlier this year.

More information on the complaints can be found here.

Follow Hanna Scott on Twitter or email her here

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Dad, lawyer claim neglect, racial discrimination to blame for 12-year-old’s death