Girl died of ‘easily treated’ infection at Utah teen treatment center, had ‘begged’ for help, lawyer says

Taylor Goodridge’s infection led to sepsis, according to a statement from her family’s lawyer.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Diamond Ranch Academy in Hurricane on Jan. 11, 2023. A 17-year-old girl who died at facility in December suffered from an infection that is usually “easily treated,” her family’s attorney announced Friday, April 21, 2023, citing autopsy records.

A 17-year-old girl who died at Diamond Ranch Academy in December suffered from an infection that is usually “easily treated,” her family’s attorney announced Friday, citing autopsy records.

But even though the girl had been experiencing symptoms of infection for days, managers at the southern Utah youth residential treatment center refused her medical attention, the attorney said in a statement Friday.

Taylor Goodridge died at the Hurricane facility on Dec. 20, 2022, due to peritonitis — an infection of the abdomen tissue, according to an excerpt from the girl’s autopsy report released by her family’s lawyer. The first symptoms of peritonitis are typically vomiting and a swollen stomach — which Goodridge suffered from for over a week before she died.

Typically, the infection is “easily treated with antibiotics,” the family’s lawyer said. But when Goodridge “begged for help multiple times,” her pleas drew “punishment,” according to the statement. The family’s lawyer said Diamond Ranch Academy staff was also “begging” management to take Goodridge to a hospital “for days before she died,” but she was never taken, according to the statement.

An attorney for Diamond Ranch Academy declined comment Friday afternoon.

Diamond Ranch Academy is a 108-bed teen treatment program in Hurricane that describes itself on its website as a “world-class residential treatment center and therapeutic boarding school for teenagers.”

The Utah Department of Health and Human Services determined that Goodridge developed symptoms as early as Dec. 9, according to her family’s lawyer. Despite multiple instances of vomiting, her pleas for help were “completely disregarded” by the academy, and the facility also canceled Goodridge’s weekly phone calls to her parents leading up to her death, the family’s lawyer said.

Goodridge ultimately developed sepsis, the Utah Medical Examiner’s office found, which spread to all of her vital organs, causing “complete organ failure,” the family’s lawyer said in a statement.

“We are devastated to learn that Taylor’s death was entirely preventable had Diamond Ranch Academy cared,” Dean Goodridge and AmberLynn Wigtion — Goodridge’s parents — said in a statement provided by their attorney.

The parents added that they “intend to continue to pursue all avenues to hold Diamond Ranch Academy accountable for her death to make sure this does not happen to other innocent teens and their families.”

Goodridge’s parents filed a lawsuit against the teen treatment center on Dec. 30. The facility filed a motion on March 10 for the case to be dismissed, and the parents filed a motion in opposition to that request on Friday.