Heartache as toddler s burial put on hold
Heartache as toddler's burial put on hold

A mother has described her heartache at having to wait more than a week for a coronial investigation into her daughter's death before she can bury her child.

Seventeen-month-old Hayley Rowe died on Tuesday at Swan District Hospital about 12 hours after she was admitted with vomiting, a rash and a high temperature.

Two hours before she died her mother was told she could take Hayley home.

The family were told yesterday the initial investigation could not establish a cause of death.

They were told the Coroner would have to keep Hayley's body until further investigations could be completed.

Hayley's parents fear a systemic failure in the hospital may have led to their child not being correctly diagnosed and not getting the correct care.

"I want answers," Hayley's mother Pamilla Spence said.

"I want it written down on paper from that hospital, that because of their lack of experience and duty (of care), that is why my daughter isn't here today."

Shortly after Hayley died, doctors told Ms Spence her daughter probably had meningococcal.

"I want answers as to why wasn't anything else done," Ms Spence said.

"Where were the blood tests? Where were the urine tests?

"Why wasn't she taken to Princess Margaret Hospital when it was obvious how sick she was?"

Ms Spence said she was only alerted to the fact her daughter had not had a blood test after she spent almost 10 hours at the hospital.

The family hope a formal investigation will prevent any other parents having to suffer the devastating loss of a child.

Health Minister Kim Hames expressed his "extreme sorrow" but said it appeared on the surface that hospital staff had done nothing wrong.

"At the end of the day, though, they didn't make the diagnosis," he said.

"The question is whether they could have made that diagnosis early enough to have done something about it and that's the purpose of the Coroner's inquiry."

Dr Hames said the department was looking at assisting the family with funeral costs.

Shadow health minister Roger Cook extended his sympathies to the family and said an independent inquiry may be necessary.

"This isn't about a witch hunt, it isn't about blaming the individual," he said.

"It's about making the system work in the interests of the individual."

The West Australian

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