Judge weighs releasing medical history in toddler death

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LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) — A judge is considering a request to release the medical history of a 2-year-old who prosecutors say died of internal bleeding after being struck by her northern Idaho baby sitter.

The Lewiston Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/1Dcjsez ) that Natasha Hodges' defense attorney wants access to medical records for 2-year-old Rylee Mingo, as well as her sister and the emergency room doctor who treated her.

Prosecutors have charged Hodges with first-degree murder, but defense attorney Richard Cuddihy says that Mingo died of natural causes from pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas.

Cuddihy also on Wednesday said that the doctor who first treated Mingo in the emergency room did not follow protocols and that his judgment was impaired by undergoing medical treatment himself.

"It's clear by the record that a number of protocols weren't followed," Cuddihy said. "That information is important for us to piece this together for the jury."

Once the toddler had problems breathing, Hodges called 911, but Mingo later died after arriving at a hospital.

Hodges, 30, was silent throughout the hearing on Wednesday, as Judge Jeff Brudie from the 2nd District Court questioned both sides on releasing the records.

Nez Perce County Deputy Prosecutor April Smith argued that the requested records aren't relevant to the trial.

"The state feels any other records are beyond the scope of discovery and (don't) have anything to do with Rylee," Smith said. "Discovery is not intended to be a fishing expedition."

Cuddihy also said that records from the first 30 minutes that Mingo was in the emergency room at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center are missing, and that the toddler's blood sugar level was much too low.

The judge will issue a written order in response. A jury trial is set for April 9.


Information from: Lewiston Tribune, http://www.lmtribune.com

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