Desperate mum invokes ‘Ryan’s Rule’ to get help for baby after being sent home eight times from Gold Coast Uni Hospital

Lili Curtis with daughter Arabella. She wants other parents to know their rights if they

Lili Curtis with daughter Arabella. She wants other parents to know their rights if they feel their child is not getting proper treatment. Picture: Richard Gosling

EIGHT times Lili Curtis took her sick 10-month-old daughter Arabella to Gold Coast University Hospital only to be told to go home.

Each time Ms Curtis became more angry and upset as doctors who visited the child at home kept saying she should be in hospital.

Finally, after the eighth hospital visit in just 17 days, the Oxenford mother invoked Ryan’s Rule — a protocol for people who do not feel their concerns are being taken seriously — to get help.

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Arabella Erhard is set to be treated by specialists in Brisbane after being sent home fro

Arabella Erhard is set to be treated by specialists in Brisbane after being sent home from Gold Coast University Hospital several times despite being sick. Picture: Richard Gosling

That is when the head of the hospital’s pediatrics department stepped in and examined Arabella, diagnosing bacterial bronchitis and putting the little girl on a long course of antibiotics.

By then Arabella had lost a kilogram because she was not eating and Ms Curtis was told if her condition deteriorated, to come back.

At a follow-up appointment this week Ms Curtis said she had been told Arabella’s condition was actually viral.

She said she was also told Arabella needed to be referred to a lung specialist in Brisbane because she had a moist cough for more than four weeks.

“They’ve just handballed us to Brisbane,” Ms Curtis said.

“If they don’t triage her Category 1, she could be waiting for months.

“This has been going on for 11 weeks now, so she could have been seen by now.”

Ms Curtis said she wanted to warn other parents.

“It wasn’t like I was going up there as a frantic parent overreacting — the GP told me to take her in,” she said.

“I would never take my child or myself back to that hospital again.

“What I’ve been through has traumatised me.

“I think parents should know not to take their kids there because it’s just atrocious.”

Gold Coast University Hospital denies misdiagnosing Arabella.

Gold Coast University Hospital denies misdiagnosing Arabella.

A Gold Coast University Hospital spokeswoman said there had not been any misdiagnosis.

“Gold Coast Health welcomes the use of Ryan’s Rule to allay concerns and provide an opportunity to improve the experience for patients and families,” she said.

“Referral to a respiratory specialist is appropriate four weeks after antibiotics have commenced, rather than four weeks after initial symptoms.

“We have reviewed this case and are satisfied that all appropriate clinical process have been followed.”

Stephanie Bedo HEALTH EXCLUSIVE
Gold Coast Bulletin
April 29, 2015 12:00AM

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