The heartbroken parents of a seven-year-old girl who died in Perth Children’s Hospital want a new safeguard introduced to make sure no other families suffer what they went through.
Parents Aswath Chavittupara and Prasitha Sasidharan have “no doubt” their daughter would still be alive if she was seen quicker, rather than waiting more than an hour and a half as they pleaded with staff for help.
“Some of the staff were ignoring us because they just didn’t want to even talk to us,” Mr Chavittupara told 9News on Thursday.
WA Health Minister Roger Cook said the schoolgirl died of complications related to group A streptococcus and that neither she nor her family received the appropriate level of care the night they attended the hospital.
“It is associated with very poor health outcomes and high mortality,” Mr Cook said, on Wednesday.
“The report makes it clear that Aishwarya and her parents should have received better care. They did not get the help they asked for.”
He apologised to Aishwarya’s family on behalf of the state government and the health community, but the grief-stricken parents wanted more.
“Just an apology is not good enough,” the father said.
“We need to change the system. We have to find out what led to the situation.”
The Perth couple wants an external review into their daughter’s death and any previous near misses, and a new hospital assessment model put in place to ensure parents are properly heard.
“We would like the system to be called Aishwarya’s Care,” Mr Chavittupara said.
“Aishwarya’s Care will give a concerned parent the right right to escalate the situation and not just wait for the hospital staff to respond.”
Wednesday’s damning report found the young patient was given a triage rating of four, the second-lowest urgency level. That consigned her to wait at least an hour to be seen.
On top of that, the design of the triage area made it difficult to physically reach patients and properly assess them there was a practice of not taking a manual pulse or feeling the skin of a patient, including Aishwarya.
Upon admission to the hospital, they said, her condition deteriorated rapidly, her eyes cloudy and hands cold.
Ms Sasidharan said she told doctors what was happening with her daughter’s eyes was not normal and was told a doctor would come to investigate.
As Aishwarya’s condition worsened, the couple from Morley in north-east Perth pleaded for help, but told 9News medical staff ignored them.
“I actually went to the reception four or five times and I asked them to look at her,” Ms Sasidharan said.
The family said by the time doctors looked at Aishwarya it was too late. She died within hours of treatment beginning.
The WA government has committed to an independent inquiry into PCH, following the report’s recommendations.
The coroner is continuing to investigate Aishwarya’s death.