Dad thought chemo done for profit
Tevor Stitt. Picture: Dione Davidson/The West Australian

Tamar Stitt's father told a doctor that legal efforts to force his daughter to have chemotherapy were akin to cases from the "Stolen Generation".

At the inquest into the 10-year-old's girl's death, Dr Angela Alessandri said yesterday she made increasingly desperate efforts to persuade Trevor and Arely Stitt to agree to the treatment.

They consistently refused traditional treatment in favour of herbal and clay therapy, prompting Princess Margaret Hospital to take legal action in September 2009.

While Tamar's mother refused to speak to doctors, Mr Stitt accused the hospital of advocating chemotherapy for financial reasons and of bullying his family.

On the eve of a Supreme Court hearing which likely would have forced Tamar's parents to allow the chemotherapy, she was taken to El Salvador by her mother. Tamar died there two months later.

An emotional Dr Alessandri described how she had made various attempts personally, and through other doctors, to persuade the Stitts that without the chemotherapy their daughter would die. "I stressed very clearly . . . that without chemotherapy and surgery Tamar would not survive," Dr Alessandri said. As talks with the family continued and legal action loomed, Mr Stitt's concerns became more bizarre.

"He had concerns after his brother mentioned that conventional chemotherapy was administered by hospitals for financial reasons, not because of the medical outcomes," Dr Alessandri said.

"I went to great lengths to make it very clear that it was never a situation where we felt Mr and Mrs Stitt were not appropriate parents. I was either not able to communicate that or Mr Stitt was unable to hear it. He referred to the Stolen Generation."

Medical notes from El Salvador showed Tamar had lost a lot of weight and the tumour had spread dramatically. She also had contracted an infection, which had affected her ability to cope with chemotherapy when it was eventually given to her by doctors in San Salvador.

She died of septic shock.

Mr and Mrs Stitt are expected to give evidence at the inquest today.

The West Australian

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