Wednesday, August 1, 2012
On the same day as I was born, Sophie-Maree Hunter passed away.
Sophie was just two years old, she never got to see the world, or reach her potential.
There are currently two investigations underway into Sophie's death.
Sophie was taken to Whanganui Accident and Medical Clinic (WAM) on Monday 23rd July after her parents, Scott and Sarah Hunter, became concerned about her health after she developed a temperature and seemed unwell. Her parents were allegedly told her symptoms indicated a virus, and Sophie was asked to provide a urine sample. She was unable to do so at the clinic, but a sample was obtained and delivered to the clinic later that day.
Sophie's parents took her back to the clinic on Wednesday 25th, by which time her condition hadn't improved. They were told that the original urine sample had been lost. Sophie was asked to provide another one, but was again unable to do so, and after about two hours, she was again sent home.
On Saturday morning Sophie's condition was markedly worse, she was listless and appeared jaundiced. Her parents took her straight to Palmerston North hospital from Fielding where they were staying at the time with family. Blood tests were taken and Sophie was diagnosed with pneumonia. Her parents were told that the results of the blood tests would not be available for forty eight hours. She was wearing a breathing tube, sitting up and talking, but began vomiting. Her condition deteriorated quickly, her parents were told that septic shock had set in and her heart was failing. Staff worked to stabilise her as arrangements were made to fly her to Starship Hospital in Auckland. Her condition was extremely unstable, but there was no alternative, the staff at Palmerston North hospital worked frantically to save Sophie, but there was no more they could do there and the decision was made to try and get her to Starship as quickly as possible where there are specialised staff and equipment.
The plane never left the airfield, little Sophie's body had been through too much for too long and septic shock had set in. Her heart had already stopped for a time at the hospital earlier but the staff managed to resuscitate her, this time when her heart stopped they were unable to save her, despite their best efforts.
Thinking about Sophie's last hours, about what her mum and dad and the rest of her Family went through and are still going through, the medical staff involved, there are no words that can do Sophie and her Family justice. This is an utter tragedy and it seems to have been preventable.
Sophie never got to see the world, never got to grow up and fulfill her true potential.
Sophie deserved better than this. All Kiwi Kids deserve better than this.
There are inquiries underway by the Whanganui Primary Health Organisation and the Whanganui Coroners Office, they won't bring Sophie back.
Sophie's family are determined to fight for better health care for Kiwi kids and ensure this never happens to another child.
Here are another couple of recent news reports about the New Zealand health system to think about. And another. This post will be updated when the results of the inquiries are available.
Less than two months after Sophie passed on, another child was turned away from a medical centre too: