WA’s Health Minister has apologised unreservedly to Aishwarya Aswath’s family after the seven-year-old’s death at Perth Children’s Hospital [PCH] last month.
- Roger Cook says Aishwarya and her family should have received better care
- An investigation into the seven-year-old’s death was released today
- It found she died of an infection related to group A streptococcus
Roger Cook’s apology came in Parliament today when he tabled the recommendations from an initial investigation into the child’s death.
He said the report made it clear Aishwarya and her parents should have received better care.
“I wish to apologise unreservedly for this failure and for the heartbreak and devastation Aishwarya’s death has caused her family and her community,” he said.
“On behalf of the McGowan Government, Child and Adolescent Health Services, and all the health community, I say to Aishwarya’s family — I am sorry.”
Perth Children’s Hospital changes recommended
Mr Cook said the report had been provided to Aishwarya’s family this morning.
“It is vital that we now give the family appropriate time to read and process the report,” he said.
“We must respect their right to privacy and acknowledge that this report documents in detail the final hours of their daughter’s life – it is confronting and extremely distressing to read.”
With the consent of the family, Mr Cook gave an overview in the Lower House this afternoon of the report and its recommendations.
It found the seven-year-old had succumbed to an infection related to group A streptococcus, something Mr Cook said was associated with “very poor health outcomes and high mortality”.
Eleven recommendations were made, including improvement to the triage process policy at PCH, a clear pathway for parents to escalate concerns to staff, a review of cultural awareness for staff and development of an established sepsis recognition diagnostic tool in the emergency department.
Independent inquiry requested
Mr Cook said he had today requested an independent inquiry into the Perth Children’s Hospital emergency department.
This will include any matters of specific concern identified by Aishwarya’s family.
“It is vital that we learn what happened at Perth Children’s Hospital, and continue to improve the care provided to the children and young people of Western Australia,” Mr Cook said.
Mr Cook said the hospital continued to be a leading hospital that performed “objectively well against safety and quality measures”.
“I know this tragic event has been felt by staff across Perth Children’s Hospital, and we must continue to support them and the work they do,” he said.
Board chair resigns
Child and Adolescent Health Service (CAHS) board chair Deb Karasinski has resigned in the wake of the report.
Mr Cook said he spoke with Ms Karasinski this morning.
“Following that phone call, Ms Karasinski tendered her resignation and I accepted it,” he said.
Ms Karasinski was appointed to the CAHS board as its inaugural chair in 2016.