When three-year-old Caitlin Cruz came home from daycare with a fever, her parents had no idea the flu she developed would actually be fatal.
Caitlin’s parents are demanding a coronial inquest to investigate how the Sydney toddler died less than 24 hours after she arrived at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead.
An autopsy reportedly found Caitlin’s death on Sunday October 23, 2016, was caused by influenza B, which had lead to swelling and fluid around her heart.
The little girl’s family reportedly received an undisclosed settlement and an apology from the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network (SCHN) earlier this year in a civil case over Caitlin’s death. But parents Mitch and Maria are now demanding answers, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
"We left the hospital without a daughter, and we're asking why," her father Mitch Cruz told the Herald.
Caitlin fell ill on the Friday night before she died, so her father took her to a GP the next day, where she passed out and vomited in the waiting room.
Doctors were able to revive her, and called an ambulance who transported her to The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.
Thinking his little girl was in safe hands Mr Cruz felt relieved.
"I looked at Caitlin and said, ‘Babe you're going to be OK’," he recounted to the Herald.
A few hours after arriving at the hospital, Caitlin collapsed again - this time taking a team of medics about 30 minutes to recover her, Mr Cruz said.
She had to wait five-and-a-half hours for an ECG to test her heart, due to the machine not being charged, the news outlet reported.
Despite doctors reportedly finding “there was quite likely a significant issue with Caitlin’s heart", nothing was done to treat her for another 12 hours.
By then, Caitlin’s condition was deteriorating rapidly and she eventually collapsed a third time but this tine she could not be revived.
"In her final moments … we needed to tell her how much we loved her and how much we cared for her, and we weren't given that chance because it was all too late," Mr Cruz said.
A GoFundMe page set up for the “darling little sleeping beauty” told of the family’s pain.
”Gone is our most beloved, almost always smiling, quirky, joyous, friendly, generous, loving, stubborn and sweetest little girl, but forever in our hearts and minds she will remain,” it wrote.
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