In­quest over baby death to­day

Tyla-Ma­ree Flynn, a beau­ti­ful 22-month-old baby who loved Bar­ney songs would never live long enough to out­grow them. Ahead of an in­quest start­ing to­day into how the Pu­taruru tod­dler died South Waikato News jour­nal­ist Florence Kerr speaks ex­clu­sively to To

South Waikato News - - NEWS -

Fri­day, June 29, 2007. is a day that will for­ever be re­mem­bered by staff mem­bers at Toko­roa Hos­pi­tal.

It was on this day at 9.50am, that Lisa Bar­ron ran in to the hos­pi­tal’s emer­gency depart­ment car­ry­ing her 22-month-old daugh­ter, Tyla-Ma­ree Flynn, who had suf­fered se­vere burns to her face 16 hours ear­lier.

De­spite a team of three doc­tors and sev­eral nurses work­ing to keep the baby alive, an hour later, lit­tle Tyla-Ma­ree, who had fought close to 17 hours to stay alive, could fight no more.

Emer­gency depart­ment staff nurse Lissie Cope, who has worked at Toko­roa Hos­pi­tal for 31 years, was one of sev­eral nurses who worked on Tyla-Ma­ree. She re­mem­bers that day, a day that haunts her three years on.

‘‘When her mother brought her in her eyes were open. Ev­ery time she heard her mother speak she would try to find her just us­ing her eyes. It is what we call flat be­hav­iour – be­sides her eye move­ments she was not ac­tive,’’ Mrs Cope said.

De­spite their at­tempts, Tyla passed on an hour later and it was at that point that the staff work­ing on Tyla-Ma­ree’s lit­tle body re­ally felt the force of what had oc­curred.

‘‘Af­ter­wards, I was like ‘I have a moko that age’, I kept think­ing of my nieces my neph­ews who were all around that age, we all just cried.

‘‘This was the worst burns case I have ever worked on in all my years. We were of­fered coun­selling af­ter­wards, I felt bet­ter talk­ing to my col­leagues about what hap­pened, it re­ally helped.’’

Mrs Cope hopes an­other child will never have to en­dure what baby Tyla-Ma­ree had too.

‘‘When I think about that day, I al­ways see her poor lit­tle face. When I saw her photo for the very first time I thought ‘what a beau­ti­ful girl’.’’

Staff nurse Erin Hikuroa, who was not work­ing the day Tyla- Ma­ree was brought in, said the main ob­jec­tive was al­ways to sta­bilise the pa­tient be­fore ques­tion­ing what had hap­pened.

‘‘Our job is not to judge, it’s to sta­bilise our pa­tient. If chil­dren un­der five come in with in­juries whether it is ac­ci­den­tal or not, we have poli­cies in place to en­sure the child’s safety.’’

Tyla-Ma­ree’s step­fa­ther, Pu­taruru man Rikki Hotham, also known as Rikki Hopa, was killed in a car ac­ci­dent in Oc­to­ber 2008. He was due to stand trial for the murder of the tod­dler.

It was be­lieved Hotham had forced the 22 month old’s face into scald­ing wa­ter. It was also re­ported in 2008 that burns con­sis­tent with cig­a­rette marks were found on the tod­dler’s gen­i­tals, in­ner knee and neck.

An in­quest into the death of Tyla-Ma­ree Flynn be­gan to­day at Toko­roa District Court. It is ex­pected to take one day.

TAKEN: An in­quest into Tyla-Ma­ree Flynn’s death starts in Toko­roa to­day.

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