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The girl was given an injection and pills for a sore throat, a family spokesman said.
Jessica Erin Hart
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
A 17-year-old Montvale girl who died last week received treatment for a sore throat at an urgent care facility hours before she became unresponsive, a family spokesman said.
Jessica Erin Hart , a Liberty High School student, died early Friday morning. Roanoke County police said Tuesday that they are investigating the teen’s death, and that the investigation involves an unnamed medical facility.
Travis Graham, a family friend serving as a spokesman for Hart’s family, said the high school student was suffering from a severe sore throat last week. On Thursday evening, Graham said, Hart and her mother went to the MedExpress urgent care clinic on Williamson Road in Roanoke County , with the thought she might be experiencing a case of strep throat.
At the clinic, Graham said the girl was treated with an injection and pills. He said the family believes the injection was Dilaudid , a painkiller. He said he wasn’t sure what pills Hart was given.
A few hours later, Hart became unresponsive, Graham said. He said her mother called 911.
Bedford County authorities received the call at 8:22 p.m., according to a news release from the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office. Hart was unconscious and not breathing. Fire and rescue units responded, along with the sheriff’s office. She was taken to Bedford Memorial Hospital , then to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, the release said.
Graham said she died about 3 a.m. Friday.
Dr. Victor Starcher, senior vice president of medical affairs for Morgantown, W.Va.-based MedExpress, said that he oversees the Roanoke County facility and that the company is aware of Hart’s death.
Starcher said a physician administered her treatment Thursday, but he could not go into further detail because of privacy concerns.
Roanoke County police would not name the medical facility that is part of their investigation because the cause of Hart’s death has not yet been determined. The medical examiner’s office is working to conduct tests, including a toxicology report, police said Wednesday.
Starcher said the urgent care facility is cooperating in the investigation and is keeping Hart’s family in its thoughts and prayers.
“As parents ourselves and as medical professionals, we are certainly saddened by the loss of a patient,” Starcher said.
Graham said Hart’s family is still in shock.
“She’s terribly missed, and they’re very sad for her passing,” he said.
Hart was striving to go to college, he said, taking a full course load of Advanced Placement classes at Liberty High School while playing percussion in the Bedford County school’s band.
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