7 May 2012

Medical staff tell of trying to save dying girl

11:05 pm on 7 May 2012

Medical staff have described their efforts to save a dying girl at the centre of a Christchurch murder trial.

George Gwaze, 60, is on trial for the sexual violation and murder of his adopted niece Charlene Makaza in January 2007.

The Crown says the 10-year-old died after a forceful sexual attack by the accused, but the defence says she died of HIV.

After-hours emergency centre nurse Sally Jane Amodeo told the High Court in Christchurch on Monday that Charlene Mazaka brought in seriously unwell with laboured breathing and blood-streaked diarrhoea on 6 January 2007.

Ms Amodeo said she examined the girl and noticed mottling of the child's feet and ankles, which indicated that she was dying.

The court was told medical staff questioned the Gwaze family about her health, but struggled to get information.

"We didn't vet very many answers, it was hard to get anything from the family. But they did tell us that yes she was normally fit and well," Ms Amodeo said.

Miss Mazaka was transferred to Christchurch Hospital, but died the following day.

Emergency doctor Amanda Holgate told the court on Monday the girl had the lowest possible recorded level of consciousness at just three out of 15, and the overall impression was of a gravely unwell child whom staff might not be able to save.

Dr Holgate said Charlene Mazaka had a high fever and pulse rate and low blood pressure, which indicated sepsis or meningitis.

However, Dr Holgate said her failure to respond to therapies was a puzzle and CT scans and further investigations were ordered.