An Adelaide couple has told of their anguish as their seven-year-old daughter waited more than eight hours for emergency surgery at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital.
The girl became critically ill as her appendix burst during the delay.
“She was in so much pain and we couldn’t do anything,” the girl’s mother, Annabelle Oates, said.
“I was just holding onto Audrey’s hand and just trying to get her through it.”
9News understands the child was diagnosed with appendicitis last month.
The family were told to take her to the Women’s and Children’s Hospital.
When the family arrived at the hospital at 3pm, they said they waited three hours for the first examination by a nurse, then another three hours before they left the waiting room to see a doctor.
By 9.30pm surgery was ordered and Audrey was left waiting in the emergency department.
It was during this wait, at about 10pm, that her appendix ruptured. She was not taken to surgery until 11.30pm.
“There were lots of parents who just walked away, there were kids with head injuries who weren’t even seen by the emergency department because everything was so busy,” Ms Oates said.
Audrey is recovering from her ordeal. Her parents made the decision to take her story public to support the call for better resources for the hospital.
9News has been told both senior doctors and Premier Steven Marshall have apologised to the Oates family for what they experienced.
An investigation into the incident is underway.
“The important thing to say in this case is that we acknowledge that there was a delay in assessing this child and we’re sorry to the family. We have been in contact with the family to say that,” Dr James Rice from the Women’s and Children’s Hospital said.
Mr Marshall said the state government is expanding the paediatric services at the Lyell McEwin Hospital and at the Flinders Medical Centre.