Little Noah’s death was a tragedy that could have been avoided, his parents say

Little Noah’s death was a tragedy that could have been avoided, his parents say
Little Noah’s death was a tragedy that could have been avoided, his parents say

The devastated parents of little Noah, Ben and Steph Souvantzis, say a series of catastrophic medical errors led to the “entirely avoidable” death of their toddler who succumbed to meningitis almost a year ago.

In a report by the “Herald Sun”, shocking images show how quickly the little boy’s health deteriorated after he was discharged from hospital, when a simple antibiotic could have saved his life.

The Diamond Creek couple have released these harrowing photos of the 19-month-old’s deteriorating condition in the hope of securing justice for their only child, as they say their son’s death could have been completely avoided.

Hospital guidelines across Victoria state that doctors should immediately give medication to anyone showing symptoms of meningitis and that blood tests should be carried out.

But neither was done by duty doctor Paul Bumford – on his first shift at Northeast Health Wangaratta – who also ordered Noah to be discharged after a brief examination of the toddler last December, according to reports published by “Herald Sun”.

The family’s tragic story began while they were visiting relatives in Myrtleford shortly after Christmas last year when Noah became lethargic, developed a high fever and started vomiting.

He was taken to Alpine Health Myrtleford Hospital but staff told them that due to the severity of Noah’s condition they would need to go to Northeast Health Wangaratta Hospital.

There was no ambulance available so they drove there themselves, while a doctor told Ben and Steph that she would call and alert the hospital about “a really sick child coming in who needs to see a paediatrician”.

The parents were later told the message was received but not passed on to the right people at Wangaratta Hospital Emergency. When they saw the doctor, he told them that Noah had ‘revived’, and despite their protests, and his deteriorating condition, discharged him.

From Wargaratta Hospital the worried parents drove all the way to Benalla to be near another Emergency Department.

By the time they got to the hotel in Benalla, Noah was so ill that they went straight back to hospital.

More delays followed. The center called for an on-call doctor, who immediately called the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) Pediatric Infant Perinatal Emergency Retrieval (PIPER) team. But the RCH operator did not send the experts to Noah.

And so they had to go back to Warangatta Hospital again by ambulance. Even in the hospital when the child started having seizures, the paramedic refused to give him medicine saying it was muscle spasms due to fatigue.

When Warangatta Hospital finally realized this time, and after further delays, the seriousness of the toddler’s condition, a second call was made and the PIPER team from the Royal Children’s Hospital was flown in to take him to the Children’s Hospital.

But it was too late for little Noah. The parents were forced to travel to Melbourne by road and once they arrived at the Royal Children’s Hospital doctors announced that their child was brain dead, with only machines keeping him alive.

The Safer Care Victoria inquiry made a number of recommendations but did not hold anyone accountable, which parents find unacceptable.

“There is a doctor who did not recognize the symptoms, did not give antibiotics, did not do blood tests, sent Noah away despite the fact that he looked very ill and despite our protests and the report even states that this directly led to Noah’s death, but no one will be held accountable? It doesn’t make sense,” the child’s mother told the Herald Sun.

Noah donated his two kidneys, his liver and his heart to people in need.

Ben and Steph, both teachers, have not returned to work, unable to recover from their tragic loss. They say they want justice for their wrongfully gone child, and they will continue to try until they get it.

The article is in Greek

Tags: Noahs death tragedy avoided parents

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