14-month-old toddler dies after doctors refuse to believe she had swallowed toxic AA battery
After the hospital's refusal to believe there was something wrong with her, Isabella Rees passed away in February 2015 after suffering multiple cardiac arrests
A couple lost their baby girl after medical professionals at the hospital refused to believe that the child had swallowed something potentially toxic, an inquest heard. Isabella Rees was just 14 months old in February 2015 when she swallowed a button battery, but hospital staff wouldn't diagnose the problem until it was too late to save her.
According to news.com.au, Isabella's final days are now being examined at a coronial hearing at the Coroners Court of Victoria, with the child's mother, Allison Rees, telling the hearing of how she and her husband Robert took their daughter to the hospital on multiple occasions in the days leading up to her death.
The hearing was also told that during one of their visits to Melbourne's Sunshine Hospital, medical staff even brought up the possibility of the child having swallowed something potentially harmful, but that the notion was disregarded by a doctor who insisted that whatever was inside the toddler was just "passing through."
The parents had grown increasingly suspicious that their daughter had swallowed something after they remembered that she had been holding an AA battery the day she first got sick. Robert confirmed the same, telling the hearing that they first took the 14-month-old to the emergency room on January 16, 2015, after they feared she may have swallowed the battery she had been playing with.
Isabella had gone on to develop a plethora of symptoms including blackened feces, fevers, and vomiting blood, and her condition grew progressively worse. Rees testified she took the 14-month-old's dirty nappies, blood clots they came across on the cot, and further images as proof that Isabella's condition was serious, but to no avail. "I knew they weren’t going to believe us," she was quoted saying.
She also said that the staff at the hospital made her and her husband feel as though they were overreacting. "Because every time we went we had evidence … we were just disregarded and turned away," she claimed. "It felt like we were hypochondriacs."
The toddler was denied both, an x-ray and an ultrasound, and on February 4, 2015, a little over a fortnight after she was first rushed to the emergency room, she would suffer multiple cardiac arrests and pass away. Now, the coroner, Caitlin English is trying to determine when Isabella consumed the battery and if the hospital provided appropriate care to her.
The court also heard of how there were a number inconsistencies in a number of areas around the toddler's care, including between hospital staff and records, and those of the 14-month-old's family members as well. Rees claimed the only reasons she wanted the case of her daughter's death taken to inquest was not to place blame but to better educate people about the risk of children and batteries. The inquest is set to continue, with 17 witnesses including family, medical experts, and Sunshine Hospital staff expected to testify in the coming days.