PITTSBURGH — The hospital where Ronnie DeSillers died while awaiting a fourth liver transplant is suing his mother for $261,189 in bills that have not been paid even though people donated hundreds of thousands of dollars for his care.
Maria DeSillers says she won't hand over the donated money until she gets answers to questions she has about the quality of treatment her 7-year-old son received.
"I want the nation to get the answers they want to get. What happened with his third liver? Why was it turned down by three other centers? And they still put it in Ronnie," she said.
The plight of the Miami boy, who died April 29 after three liver transplants within three months, drew donations nationwide, including $1,000 from President Reagan.
More than $420,000 was donated for Ronnie between early February and the day he died.
In a lawsuit filed in Common Pleas Court in Pittsburgh, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh said Ronnie's bill came to $424,302 and that DeSillers has "refused to make any payments" since she paid $163,113 on Feb. 24.
"According to numerous newspapers' articles, public support amounted to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Substantially less than that was paid to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh," hospital spokesman Richard Riebling said Monday.
"The hospital has taken action against Mrs. DeSillers to insure that the public's money is used in the manner for which it was intended," he said.
Ronnie, who had cirrhosis of the liver, received his first transplant Feb. 24, but a viral infection damaged the organ and a second transplant was performed April 3. That liver failed for unknown reasons and he received his third transplant April 23.
He died six days later of septic shock, a condition in which the body is unable to battle a bacterial infection.