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Mother of handicapped boy who died in the hospital reveals what doctors have written on his death certificate

The mother of a disabled boy has revealed the shocking words that doctors have written on her son’s death certificate.

Rachel Browne told the Royal Commission for Violence, Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation of People with Disabilities in Sydney that Down’s syndrome was mentioned on the death certificate of her son Finlay as a cause of death.

The 16-year-old from Bathurst in New South Wales died after a terrifying 71-day hospital battle in 2016 with 12 abdominal surgeries and 65 days spent in intensive care for children.

Finlay lived with autism and Down syndrome and quickly fell ill in September 2016, suffered terrible pain, vomited and had blood in his stools and was rushed to Bathurst Hospital.

When Finlay left the house for what would be the last time, his mother and father sat on either side of him.

“He put an arm around us, and he looked up and said,” I love your mom, I love your dad, “Mrs. Browne told the hearing.

Rachel Browne (photo) told the Royal Commission for Violence, Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation of People with Disabilities in Sydney that doctors wrote “Trisomy 21” or Down Syndrome as the cause of the death of her son Finlay

Finlay collapsed upon arrival at the hospital, with a CT scan showing that he had a significant obstruction of the abdomen that required surgery.

Later that night Finlay was brought to the theater and the next morning they flew to the children’s hospital in Westmead where he underwent further surgery.

After 12 operations, most of Finlay’s small intestine was removed and the family was told he would never eat or drink again.

As a result of his injuries, the liver and kidneys of Finlay were cut off.

“He kept saying, Mom, I want to go home … I wanted to take him home, but it became clear that if he recovered, he would have no quality of life,” Mrs. Browne said.

After a final operation it was decided to withdraw the treatment and he died in December 2016 with his family around him.

On the death certificate from Finlay, which was shown to the committee, “trisomy 21” or Down’s syndrome is mentioned as one of the causes of death.

“(This) indicates that one of the causes of Finlay’s death is in fact his Down syndrome,” Browne said.

Mrs Browne would like to see the policy changed to ensure that it is not normal to identify a person with intellectual disability and their disability on a death certificate if it was not part of the cause of death.

She had received questionable comments from medical professionals throughout Finlay’s life, including from a doctor at the hospital the day he was born.

“The doctor said he felt something was wrong with Finlay and I had noticed that I knew I had Down’s syndrome, he told me it was good because I was young and I have more children could get it, “Browne said.

Six months after Finlay’s death, Ms. Browne addressed Bathurst Hospital staff.

Mrs. Browne approached Bathurst Hospital staff (photo) after the death of Finlay and filed complaints with them and the NSW Healthcare Complaints Commission

Mrs. Browne approached Bathurst Hospital staff (photo) after the death of Finlay and filed complaints with them and the NSW Healthcare Complaints Commission

Mrs. Browne approached Bathurst Hospital staff (photo) after the death of Finlay and filed complaints with them and the NSW Healthcare Complaints Commission

“I wanted to let clinicians know what the consequences were of doing nothing, not only for Fin, but also for his family, his friends,” she said.

“That this young man had a life, a well-lived life – he was just not a person with a disability, he was a person.”

Mrs. Browne has also submitted complaints to Bathurst Hospital and the NSW Healthcare Complaints Commission.

The committee indicated that the matter should not go to formal investigation, but suggested that a mediation process be initiated.

Mrs Browne has written the NSW Minister of Health and is currently awaiting a decision on whether a colonial investigation will be held in the death of Finlay.

The committee continues.

WHAT IS THE SYNDROME OF DOWN?

Down’s syndrome is a genetic disorder that usually causes a certain degree of learning disability and certain physical characteristics.

Symptoms include:

  • Sleepiness at birth
  • Eyes that slope downwards and outwards
  • A small mouth
  • A flat back of the head

Screening tests can expose Down syndrome during pregnancy, but are not completely accurate.

It is caused by an extra chromosome in a baby’s cell due to a genetic change in the sperm or egg.

The risk increases with the mother’s age.

A 20-year-old woman has about one in 1500 chance of having a Down’s syndrome baby.

Women between 40 and 40 have a 100% chance.

There are no indications that women can reduce their risk.

Down syndrome has no cure.

The treatment is aimed at supporting the development of the patient.

People with Down syndrome are more at risk for health complications such as heart conditions, hearing problems, thyroid problems and recurring infections.

Source: NHS Choices

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