Kaloni Bolton, 12, died from an asthma attack after waiting over an hour for help at an urgent care center in Renton. (Kristina Williams)

Kaloni Bolton, 12, died from an asthma attack after waiting over an hour for help at an urgent care center in Renton. (Kristina Williams)

Girl dies from asthma waiting for help at Renton urgent care

The family of Kaloni Bolton, 12, wants answers to why the urgent care staff didn’t treat her.

Kaloni Bolton, 12, suffered a severe asthma attack and died waiting for care at a busy medical clinic — and now her family wants answers.

On Dec. 29, 2020, Kaloni called her mother, Kristina Williams, and told her that she was having a hard time breathing — a symptom of an asthma attack, which was not uncommon for Kaloni.

Williams was not with Kaloni and was unable to take her to receive medical attention. Kaloni’s 24-year-old sister took her to Renton Family Urgent Care.

Kaloni and her sister arrived at the Renton Family Urgent Care clinic and told staff that she was experiencing distressed breathing consistent with an asthma attack. The staff told Kaloni’s older sister that they did not have a respiratory specialist and turned Kaloni away before referring her to North Benson Urgent Care.

Upon arriving at North Benson Urgent Care and checking in with staff, Kaloni and her sister were told to wait in their car before their turn to receive attention from a health care provider. They waited in the car for a half-hour without receiving attention. Kaloni’s older sister contacted Williams out of concern to explain the situation.

Williams was confused, as Kaloni had been a patient at the clinic for over 10 years. Williams said typically, during one of Kaloni’s asthma attacks, she would be given an Albuterol nebulizer, a common treatment for asthma symptoms.

According to Williams, over an hour had gone by before any health care providers attended to or even checked on Kaloni.

“No one came out,” she said.

Meanwhile, Kaloni’s breathing difficulties grew worse.

Kaloni used her sister’s phone to call her mother. Williams said her daughter sounded highly distressed as Kaloni told her mother she couldn’t breathe and she “had no air.”

At this point, Williams was on her way to the clinic.

Panicked by Kaloni’s escalating symptoms, her older sister took her into the waiting room and pleaded to the staff for help.

Kaloni became highly distressed as she struggled to breathe. A staff member brought out an oxygen tank for Kaloni, something that Williams said was not a typical treatment for an asthma attack in her experience with Kaloni’s asthma.

The oxygen tank was not initially working for Kaloni as she continued to struggle for air. Eventually, Kaloni turned pale and lost consciousness in the waiting room lobby.

Kaloni’s sister pleaded for someone to check Kaloni’s pulse as she lay unconscious in the lobby. She then called different family members to explain the worrisome situation.

Eventually, a doctor came in to give Kaloni CPR before an ambulance was called.

Williams said she and Kaloni’s father arrived at the clinic as Kaloni was being taken away on a stretcher. She was unresponsive.

Kaloni later passed away at Valley Medical Center.

Williams said a typical Albuterol nebulizer treatment would help Kaloni recover from an asthma attack in about 30 minutes.

“I put faith in this clinic,” Williams said. “They didn’t do the proper treatment for an asthma patient.”

Since Kaloni’s passing, community members have gathered in support for her family. On March 21, a march and candlelight memorial was held in Renton to honor Kaloni’s life.

Williams said she was overjoyed by the abundance of community support and the outrage that the community shared in her child’s tragic death in a place that promises “urgent” health care.

“It meant a lot to me,” Williams said. “They felt the same pain I felt seeing medical professionals acting negligently.”

Now, Williams is trying to raise awareness of the healthcare tragedy that left her daughter struggling to breathe without care.

“As a mother, this is unacceptable,” she said. “It is not a pain any parent should go through.”

North Benson Urgent Care and Valley Medical Center spokesperson Liz Nolan said patient treatment and triage priorities are made on a case by case basis, and investigations are being made into the incident.

“Whenever an unanticipated outcome occurs, we undertake a comprehensive review to assess whether errors occurred, determine if there are gaps in our process and learn everything we can as we seek continuous improvement. Internal and independent investigations are being conducted in Kaloni’s case because of the devastatingly unfortunate outcome. Because of allegations made by the family, we have also taken action to assess whether race was in any way implicated in the care provided,” Nolan wrote.

Williams believes Kaloni is gone because of the circumstances created by the clinic and its staff.

“Kaloni had a lot to look forward to,” she said.

Williams hopes Kaloni will be remembered as a bright, loving girl and a friend to many. Kaloni played the violin, did ballet and gymnastics, and was a role model and a young leader. Her mother said she was excited to begin middle school and was looking forward to college.

“There is no one like Kaloni,” Williams said. “She was really an angel, beautiful inside and out.”

Below is a statement issued by Valley Medical Center in response to Kaloni’s death:

This story originally appeared in the Bothell-Kenmore Reporter, a sister publication to The Herald.

Talk to us

More in Northwest

NO CAPTION. Logo to accompany news of King County.
2 workers killed after trench collapses in Shoreline

The slope was too unstable to recover their bodies Monday so efforts will resume Tuesday.

The Supreme Court in Washington D.C. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Supreme Court limits EPA in curbing power plant emissions

This impacts how the nation’s main anti-air pollution law can be used to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

NO CAPTION. Logo to accompany news of Washington state.
Washington state license plates prices increase July 1

The price of a new plate will rise from $10 to $50, and replacing a lost plate will increase from $10 to $30.

Hundreds gather to listen to a lineup of guest speakers during Snohomish County’s “Bans Off Our Bodies” rally Saturday, May 14, 2022, outside the county courthouse in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade; states can ban abortion

The decision is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states.

FILE - In this photo provided by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, a crane and boats are anchored next to a collapsed "net pen" used by Cooke Aquaculture Pacific to farm Atlantic Salmon near Cypress Island in Washington state on Aug. 28, 2017, after a failure of the nets allowed tens of thousands of the nonnative fish to escape. A Washington state jury on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, awarded the Lummi Indian tribe $595,000 over the 2017 collapse of the net pen where Atlantic salmon were being raised, an event that elicited fears of damage to wild salmon runs and prompted the Legislature to ban the farming of the nonnative fish. (David Bergvall/Washington State Department of Natural Resources via AP, File)
Jury awards $595,000 to Lummi tribe for salmon pen collapse

The tribe sued, saying the pen owner had not reimbursed the tribal government for its clean up effort.

FILE - Alaska Airlines planes are parked at gates with Mount Rainier in the background at sunrise, on March 1, 2021, at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle. A union has reached a deal Wednesday, June 22, 2022, with Seattle-based Alaska Airlines for a two-year contract extension that provides substantial raises for 5,300 gate agents, stores personnel and office staff, as well as for ramp workers who load cargo. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Alaska Airlines reaches contract deal with some workers

Raises for gate agents, stores personnel, office staff, as well as ramp workers who load cargo.

NO CAPTION. Logo to accompany news of Seattle.
Seattle facing $117 million revenue shortfall in 2023

The city’s budget chief says there’s no easy way to bridge the gap.

A view from the lower undeveloped part of the Flowery Trail neighborhood looking at spots where slash piles have been burned - outside Chewelah, Wash. (Erick Doxey / InvestigateWest)
Growing sprawl in state’s woods comes with high wildfire risk

Policymakers and homeowners are scrambling to manage the so-called “wildland-urban interface” to mitigate the threat.

The kids thought it was milk. It was actually floor sealant

In Juneau, containers of the chemical were stacked on the same pallet as boxes containing pouches of milk.

NO CAPTION. Logo to accompany news of Seattle.
Initiative to change Seattle elections heads toward ballot

The initiative would alter the way Seattle elects mayors, city attorneys and City Council members.

Lynnwood
Lynnwood climber supports first all-Black Mount Everest summit bid

Fred Campbell was part of the historic expedition, but got sick and had to turn back before the submit.