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
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.