Parents speak out after toddler who attended daycare dies of meningitis

CORAL GABLES, FLA. (WSVN) - The family of a child who attended a South Florida daycare and died unexpectedly from meningitis is speaking out.

Twenty-two-month-old Connor Mincey attended Carol Glassman Donaldson Center in Downtown Miami. His parents said they had taken him to see the doctor several times since late November, and each time they said medical professionals said he was OK and sent him home.

They spoke about his death for the first time on Thursday.

“Connor would come in this room, and he will melt your heart with smiles and love,” said the child’s mother, Doreen Mincey. “He was a wonderful baby. He was a happy child, and to see that just taken away from me is heartbreaking.”

Mincey died Dec. 3 after he was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis.

“I blamed the hospital,” the victim’s mother said tearing up. “I think if that doctor didn’t send my child home with that fever, my child will be with me today.”

On Nov. 21, the parents said they took Connor to his pediatrician when he got sick and was sent home from the daycare.

The doctor told them that Connor would be OK with Tylenol and care, but his condition did not improve. After multiple visits to urgent care and Nicklaus Children’s Hospital he was admitted and died on Dec. 3.

“It’s been a nightmare,” said the child’s father, Donald Mincey. “It’s a pain I never knew before.”

Their attorney, Judd Rosen, said that his death could have been avoided.

“His condition should have been recognized, and it was treatable with antibiotics,” Rosen said.

Two days before Connor’s death, the daycare was inspected. DCF cited the center stating, “The facility did not have an isolation area designated for the care of an ill child.”

Another 2-year-old who attended the same daycare died just a week after Connor. That child was sick also, and investigators are still conducting tests to see if the second child also died from meningitis.

The health department said the boys were not in the same class, but both children were hospitalized for severe respiratory illness. Connor tested positive for meningitis.

“It seems clear that the medical providers let this family down,” Rosen said. “Based on what we’re seeing, the YWCA did not meet their responsibilities to these children and to these families to have a safe place for these kids.”

The health department sent a letter to parents whose children go to the daycare center, days after Connor’s death, informing them about the meningitis diagnosis and its symptoms.

“Five years of practicing law in this city — I’ve never seen such a tragic set of circumstances,” said attorney Glen Goldberg.

Meanwhile, Connor’s parents said they are not exactly sure who is at fault but know that more could have been done to save their child.

“I trusted them. I blame myself for trusting these people,” the child’s father said.

The center has cooperated with the investigation. It will remain closed until officials say it’s OK.

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