Father of a girl who died after waiting two hours in the ER demands the resignation of the Minister of Health
Pictured: Seven-year-old Aishwarya Aswath
The devastated father of a seven-year-old girl who died of infection while waiting in a hospital emergency room has called on the health minister and all involved medical staff to resign.
Aishwarya Aswath spent two hours in the waiting room of Perth Children’s Hospital on April 3 due to a fever, before being triaged in the second least urgent category.
Her parents begged her to be evaluated by doctors after her eyes went cloudy and her hands turned cold, but it was too late – she died after finally being seen by a specialist.
On Saturday, little girl’s father Aswath Chavittupara, 39, filed a petition calling on Western Australian Health Minister Roger Cook and anyone working on the night of his daughter’s death to resign.
A report from WA’s Child and Adolescent Health Services found that Aishwarya died of sepsis after contracting an infection in group A streptococci.
The distraught father said many people have been approached with him with similar stories of ‘neglect’ and ‘bad service’ since Aishwarya’s shocking death, and called on Prime Minister Mark McGowan to make changes to WA Health.
“We call on the WA Premier to take the following actions: The resignation of Health Secretary Roger Cook,” he wrote on change.org.
Aswath Chavittupara, 39, and Prasitha Sasidharan, 33 (pictured) say they were treated without compassion during their stay at Perth Children’s Hospital
Western Australian Health Minister Roger Cook addresses the media during a press conference at Dumas House on April 27 in Perth
Mr Cook has thwarted calls for his resignation since Aishwarya’s death, including from Australian Medical Association president Andrew Millar, who said there had been ‘no health problems in Western Australia for four years’.
Mr. Chavittupara also asked all medical professionals working on the day of his daughter’s death to stop, along with the Director of Children and Adolescents Health Services, Aresh Anwar.
Dr. Anwar tried to resign in mid-May, but his resignation was rejected by Health Department bosses, who said his departure would be too destabilizing.
Police Minister Paul Papalia on Sunday expressed his condolences to the Chavittupara family, but said “ mass layoffs ” were not the answer.
Aishwarya Aswath, seven, (pictured) waited two hours for the Perth Children’s Hospital emergency room but died shortly after finally receiving treatment
The little girl’s family called on staff at Perth Children’s Hospital (pictured) to resign
“I understand that everyone will hope that we don’t have to see these kinds of incidents again, and the best we can do to address the challenges facing the health system is to avoid mass layoffs,” he said.
‘You don’t want to lose all your skills, knowledge and experience, that would be totally counterproductive.’
Mr Papalia also stood up for Mr Cook, adding that ‘no one in Western Australian politics has as much knowledge of the health system’ as he does.
In the petition, Mr Chavittupara also suggested changing the health care system to ‘be more aware of parental concerns’ and ‘systemic changes in all aspects of patient care to be more inclusive’.
Within 20 minutes of arrival, Aishwarya’s hands were cold, her eyes were discolored, and her breathing rate and heart rate were significantly increased
AMA WA President Andrew Miller (pictured) also called on Health Secretary Roger Cook to step down
“Aishwarya’s death cannot be in vain,” he wrote.
The petition has collected nearly 1,000 signatures within the first 24 hours.
The mid-May CAHS report also found that emergency room staff missed a “ cascade ” of opportunities to escalate the seven-year-old’s care when she succumbed to a deadly infection on Easter Saturday.
Aishwarya’s parents sought help in the waiting room five times.
Within 20 minutes of arrival, her hands were cold, her eyes were discolored, and her respiratory rate and heart rate were significantly elevated.
But the seriousness of her condition was not recognized until an hour and 17 minutes later, when a doctor noticed she had cold peripheries and slurred speech.
A report found a 30-minute period in which a nurse was left to guard eight waiting room cubicles as Aishwarya continued to deteriorate (Photo: Aishwarya Aswath’s parents)
She entered a CPR bay but was pronounced dead within two hours.
The report pointed to a 30-minute period where it was left to a nurse to guard eight waiting-room booths while Aishwarya deteriorated further.
Mr Chavittupara and his wife Prasitha Sasidharan33 said an internal report raised more questions than answers, and renewed calls for an independent investigation into their daughter’s death.
“We didn’t get the answers we were looking for,” an emotional Mr. Chavittupara told reporters last week.
‘We knew they would only look at some of the areas and ignore the rest. That is why we have insisted on an external investigation. ‘
He also said Mr Cook’s apology was “not good enough.”
“I think some of the staff ignored us… they didn’t even pass the message on to their superiors so they could decide,” he said.
State Prime Minister Mark McGowan said of the incident: ‘There are problems and this is clearly a big problem’
“We found the staff a bit rude and we found that the level of humanity they had was very low.”
The McGowan administration maintains that the hospital was adequately staffed.
Mr Cook described his devotion to the little girl’s family as “unwavering.”
“I promised to get to the bottom of what happened to Aishwarya and to take all necessary measures to prevent it from happening again,” he said in a statement.
The grieving couple have no doubt that their seven-year-old daughter Aishwarya would still be alive if their concerns were allayed
‘The root cause analysis yielded eleven recommendations. They are all followed. ‘
The CAHS report made 11 recommendations that the government would implement at PCH within the next six months, including improvements to its triage policy.
An independent investigation into the emergency department of the PCH will also be conducted.
During meetings with hospital executives going back to October last year, emergency room staff expressed concerns about the safety of children in the waiting room.
Plans for the new hospital to have a triage support nurse who would monitor patients’ vital signs did not progress after it opened in 2018.