Dead tot’s fa­ther to sue over IV tragedy

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - KAY DIBBEN

THE fa­ther of a three- year- old girl, who died af­ter be­ing treated with a re- used in­tra­venous fluid bag dur­ing a flight to a hos­pi­tal, is su­ing the State Gov­ern­ment.

A coro­ner last year said if a new IV bag had been used, at the cost of one dol­lar, in­stead of re- spik­ing a partly- used bag, then “young Ruby would be with us to­day’’.

The nor­mally healthy cen­tral Queens­land girl ( pic­tured) had been sick for about a week be­fore her death on Au­gust 9, 2012.

That day she was taken to Black­wa­ter Hos­pi­tal emer­gency depart­ment with a high tem­per­a­ture, cough and vom­it­ing. She was given in­tra­venous flu­ids.

Later that day, af­ter she was di­ag­nosed with de­hy­dra­tion and prob­a­ble pneu­mo­nia, it was de­cided she would be sent to Rock­hamp­ton on a he­li­copter.

Dur­ing the flight Ruby was given in­tra­venous flu­ids, but she went into seizure and then car­diac ar­rest, seven min­utes be­fore land­ing in Rock­hamp­ton.

De­spite at­tempts to re­sus­ci­tate af­ter land­ing and at Rock­hamp­ton Hos­pi­tal, Ruby died.

Coro­ner David O’Con­nell said dur­ing the flight a half- used sa­line IV bag was respiked with a new “giv­ing set’’, de­spite a new IV bag be­ing avail­able.

Mr O’Con­nell found Ruby died from a mas­sive air em­bolism dur­ing the flight and that the air that en­tered her sys­tem about 31 min­utes into the flight came from the re- used IV sa­line bag.

Re- spik­ing al­lowed air to en­ter the bag, which was placed in­side an opaque pres­sure bag, forc­ing the sa­line fluid and air into the can­nula in Ruby’s hand.

Mr O’Con­nell found it was the lead para­medic on the flight who re- spiked the IV bag. The half- used bag was used, in­stead of new ones that were avail­able, so stocks on the he­li­copter did not need to be re­placed.

The coro­ner rec­om­mended bags be la­belled “sin­gle spike only’’.

A Dis­trict Court claim filed by Mau­rice Black­burn said Ruby’s fa­ther Chuan Chen had suf­fered a psy­chi­atric in­jury as a re­sult of her death. On Wed­nes­day the lawyers will seek leave to pro­ceed with a per­sonal in­jury dam­ages claim against the State.

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