A scathing report into a Perth hospital’s management of a critically ill seven-year-old has revealed major flaws in its operations.
The heartbroken parents of a seven-year-old girl who died of sepsis after waiting hours in a Perth emergency department say they want “the truth to come out”, days after a report into her handling was tabled in parliament.
Aishwarya Aswath died from organ failure due to sepsis after waiting two hours in the emergency department of Perth Children’s Hospital in April.
A report into the hospital’s management of her case revealed flaws in its operations, highlighting crews were short-staffed and workers exhausted.
The investigation resulted in 30 recommendations including recognising parental input, improving the nurse and medical workforce, improving the layout of the hospital’s emergency department, and better understanding culturally and linguistically diverse patients and their families.
But the girl’s parents have aired their dismay over the findings.
“We didn’t get the answers we were looking for,” father Aswath Chavittupara told 6PR Mornings.
“The big disappointment was they didn’t even attempt to look into the matters which we raised, so that was a big disappointment.”
The independent report found emergency department staff were run ragged, demoralised and isolated, and communication with Aishwarya’s parents was insufficient.
It also found that the larger, reconfigured emergency department had proved more challenging for staff, with the triage and waiting areas particularly vulnerable.
“The hospital’s historic staffing and recruitment strategies, particularly for nursing staff, were severely disrupted by the pandemic-related border closures and staff movements to statewide Covid-19 activities,” the report read.
“ED staff were described as exhausted, demoralised and relatively isolated. Parental communication and escalation supports were described as insufficient.”
When Aishwarya was brought into the emergency department, she was given an importance rating of four out of five.
Her mother Prasitha Sasidharan said she was begging staff to look at her daughter.
“She had all the symptoms of sepsis,” she said.
“They didn’t have time to look at her and identify the symptoms.”
Aishwarya’s father Aswath Chavittupara said he felt “misled” by the report and the recommendations were basic.
“We want two things to happen; first thing is we want the truth to be out, and based on the truth we need to bring in meaningful changes. When I say meaningful changes it has to be a sustainable change,” he said.
“Right now what we see is a lot of recommendations, and most of the recommendations are pretty basic – it should already exist in a world-class hospital.”