Friends of the grieving parents of Aishwarya Aswath, the young girl who died after waiting two hours to be seen in a Perth emergency room, have started a fundraiser to help them cope.
The GoFundMe page is aimed at relieving financial pressure on distraught parents Aswath Sasidharan and Prasitha Sasidharan, whose seven-year-old daughter died at the Perth Children’s Hospital last Saturday.
So far $1,375 towards a target of $20,000 has been raised.
Her devastated parents claim they repeatedly begged staff at the hospital reception for help as the little girl’s eyes clouded over and her hands went cold.
Aishwarya Aswath died after allegedly being made to wait for two hours for treatment in the Perth Children’s Hospital emergency room, her parents claim
Meanwhile nurses are set to present Western Australia’s Health Minister Roger Cook with a 10-point plan to fix the hospital’s staffing crisis, The West Australian reported.
The night Aishwarya died four doctors were off sick – and not replaced – and a ‘resuscitation event’ involving another patient overwhelmed staff who were on duty.
It is also understood the Perth Children’s Hospital had seen 21 critical incidents in the past 18 months and understaffing is partly to blame.
Nurses at the hospital reportedly complained to management on several occasions in recent months and felt their concerns were ‘consistently downplayed, dismissed or outright ignored’, so they wrote to their union.
Their complaints included claims that present staffing levels meant when a resuscitation took place as few as two nurses could be left looking after the main emergency room.
Nurses at Perth Children’s Hospital have defended themselves saying staff shortages were putting patients at risk
WA Health Minister Roger Cook admitted Aishwarya Aswath may have been ‘overlooked’
At times the nurse-to-patient ratio slipped to dangerous levels – one nurse for every 11 patients.
The nurse’s new action plan proposed one nurse for every three patients.
It also included several measures to improve understaffing problems, including a ‘staff-led’ taskforce to help ensure changes were implemented.
They also want to see shift coordinators and triage nurses not included in the nurse headcount, a resuscitation team with four nurses and fast-tracked recruitment of new nurses.
On Wednesday Mr Cook admitted Aishwarya may have been ‘overlooked’ as he called for an urgent enquiry into her death.
Another Perth mum, Emma, claimed her extremely sick two-year-old – Amanda – was turned away twice from the Perth Children’s Hospital ER.
Amanda was later diagnosed with sepsis and was at risk of organ failure, but she miraculously survived.
The circumstances surrounding Aishwarya’s death will be the subject of an internal investigation
‘I’m angry, you know I was hoping they would have woken up with what happened with Amanda,’ Emma said.
A mother who took her one-year-old to Perth Children’s Hospital the same night as Aishwarya Aswath lay dying in the reception area claimed the child was ‘easily’ the sickest when she was there.
‘The whole process there on that night was deplorable,’ the woman, who chose to remain anonymous, told WAToday. ‘This whole system failed that young family and my heart breaks for them.’
Emergency departments in Western Australia have been ‘crying out for help’ for months, said Australian Medical Association WA president Dr Andrew Miller.
‘We know that bad things happen, we know that people get sick and die, even children, but what families need at this time is to know that everything possible was done, even if the worst outcome was unavoidable here,’ Dr Miller told Perth radio 6PR.
The WA government blamed extra demand for mental health services, staff shortages and tough Covid cleaning standards for delays treating patients.
‘We were down a few doctors that night,’ Mr Cook told reporters.
‘It’s obviously part and parcel of running an emergency department in any sort of dynamic environment.’
Aswath Sasidharan pictured left with the youngster’s mother Prasitha Sasidharan. He broke down as he called on authorities to get to the bottom of his daughter’s death
‘In a post-Covid world, we are seeing higher volumes and we are seeing greater acuity and complexity.’
Mr Cook acknowledged the WA hospital system was facing ‘challenges’ and said border closures had made it difficult to hire staff.
The circumstances surrounding Aishwarya’s death will be the subject of an internal investigation by the Child and Adolescent Health Service which is expected to take four to six weeks.
Aishwarya was triaged as a category four patient, the second-lowest urgency.
Aishwarya’s mother Prasitha Sasidharan claimed she was told a doctor ‘would come and have a look’ but no one came for two hours.
‘I asked them… her eyes are changing, they asked if it’s normal and I said ‘it’s not normal, she didn’t have it before’,’ Mrs Sasidharan told 9News.
‘We pleaded with them to have a look. They didn’t think it was an emergency.
‘I went to the reception maybe four or five times. I was literally begging to them ‘please help, please help’.’
The seven-year-old’s father Aswath Chavittupara broke down as he called on authorities to get to the bottom of his daughter’s death.
‘I loved my daughter. This should never happen to any other child in this country,’ he said.
The hospital’s management offered the family their ‘sincere condolences’.
Her death is also being investigated by the coroner.