2 Apr 2009

Ambulance investigates delay claim over toddler

8:06 pm on 2 April 2009

St John Ambulance says initial findings of its investigation into the treatment of a critically injured toddler suggest its actions did not contribute to her death.

Three-year-old Cherishsiliala Tahuri-Wright, known as Cherish, was found with critical head injuries at a house in Marton on 17 February.

She died two days later in Wellington Hospital after being taken off life support.

A woman, 56, has been charged with her murder.

The girl's family say medical workers took too long to deliver Cherish to Palmerston North hospital, where she first seen.

Police confirm emergency services were called to the property at 12.15pm but the child did not arrive at the hospital until 2.40pm.

But St John Ambulance says a doctor, a clinical manger, a helicopter crew and ambulance workers all arrived quickly and had advanced life support skills.

Operations director Tony Blaber says it is possible that staff spent up to 90 minutes at the house, which may have been necessary to stabilise the child for transport.

Mr Blaber says St John Ambulance will wait for the full investigation to be completed before coming to any conclusions.

A spokesperson for the child's family, Porirua deputy mayor Litea Ah Hoi says the blunder is another sign ambulance services are at crisis point and the Government should provide better funding.