Legal battle continues over hole in the heart
WHITSUNDAY woman Karen Chittleborough is speaking out so no other family has to go through what she has been through.
Carrying groceries to her kitchen from the car, hanging out the washing and even short walks with the kids are now difficult tasks for the Airlie Beach mother of three.
Despite Queensland Health documents, dated 2004, indicating she had a 12mm hole in her heart, she was unaware of her medical condition until 14 months ago.
"It's extremely frustrating," she said.
"Even if I am meeting my friends for lunch, afterwards I will have to lie down and rest.
"I am only 40 years old; it shouldn't have to be this way."
Because her medical condition was left untreated, her other organs have had to share the load, and she now faces the possibility of a heart and lung transplant to prolong her life.
Shine Lawyers is currently collecting evidence to build a case to sue Queensland Health for $2.26million.
On Friday night Ms Chittleborough was interviewed on national news program A Current Affair.
Her emotional story has now reached the homes of families Australia-wide.
She said she was speaking out about her experiences so the situation would never be repeated.
"I know everyone makes mistakes," she said.
“We are only human. But obviously there was a breakdown in the system ... I want to make sure there is a better system for my kids."
Shine Lawyers partner Wendy Nixson has been helping build her case.
"All of this could have been avoided. Had Karen been told about the defect and had it been properly treated, the damage to her heart and lungs, the need for a transplant and her reduced life expectancy could have been avoided," she said.
Queensland Health was unable to comment on the issue due to legal proceedings.
Ms Chittleborough is in Brisbane again this week for further medical tests.
IN BATTLE: Karen Chittleborough is currently involved in legal action against the state government.