The parents of a Louisiana boy who died of heat stroke last summer are going to court, according to The Advocate, and they believe the National Guard Youth Challenge Program should be held accountable for their son’s death. Their son, who is described as “obese” in the filing, was only in the first week of the program when he died on July 16, 2016. 

On July 15, with temperatures in the 90s and a heat index in the upper 90s, the boy was outside doing intense physical activity when he fainted. After coming to and having a rapid heartbeat, chest pain and trouble catching his breath, the boy was seen by a nurse. He explained that he was also feeling nauseous and had lost the feeling in his fingers and toes. The nurse consulted with the program’s doctor, but ultimately he was not seen by anyone else.

The next day, after resuming the same rigorous physical activities, again out in the hot summer day, the boy was found unresponsive and brought to the hospital where he died of hyperthermia, or heat stroke. His parents have sued the program and say that their son was not given proper medical treatment and that after the symptoms their son exhibited on July 15, the program should have given him a less strenuous day of activities and exposed him to less heat than the day before. The Louisiana wrongful death statute states that parents are able to bring a suit “[i]f a person dies due to the fault of another,” so long as the alleged victim does not have a spouse or children. In this case, the parents will need to prove their son died due to the program not taking the proper precautions.