5 Sep 2016

Parents desperate for answers over baby's death

From Checkpoint, 5:23 pm on 5 September 2016

A New Zealand man and his Australian partner are furious after their seven-month-old baby died in Perth despite them seeking help from doctors three times in the days before his death.

Seven-month-old Malakai Matui Paraone died on 26 August.

Malakai's parents, Nicole Thompson and Te Keepa Paraone, had noticed he was weak, had joint pain and couldn't move his arm on Monday 22 August.

Ms Thompson told Checkpoint with John Campbell Malakai was having neck and arm spasms and was taken to Midland Hospital, where his parents were told he had a pulled elbow. He was given Panadol and sent home.

On Tuesday they called an ambulance and were taken to Princess Margaret Hospital, a specialist children's hospital. Malakai had a high heart rate, fever, a rash and couldn't move.

Ms Thompson said they were seen in a toilet and given Panadol. Malakai had convulsions and was vomiting, but again they were sent home.

By Wednesday, a GP said Malakai had a virus but there was nothing they could do. On Wednesday night, he was taken back to Princess Margaret Hospital and Ms Thompson said she was told he had suspected meningococcal disease, and later septicaemia. Malakai was put on life support on Thursday but died on Friday.

Ms Thompson said, despite having been to hospital three times and a medical centre once, everyone had missed what was going on with Malakai.

The coroner is now investigating and the Western Australia Health Minister says an investigation into Malakai's treatment has been launched.

Ms Thompson said she suspected Malakai died of meningococcal disease.

Mr Paraone said he had no idea about why their son had received such poor treatment.

"All I know is that something dodgy is going on."

Ms Thompson said she wanted the hospitals and doctors to be held accountable and for other parents to keep searching for answers.

"If anything, what I want from this is for doctors to listen to mothers. They're not just an over-exaggerating worried mother, if they're going to a hospital three times, if they're ringing an ambulance, keep a baby in hospital for observation at least.

The hospitals involved in Malakai's care said they couldn't comment while the coroner was investigating.