A two-year-old girl recovering from drinking cleaning liquid died after a routine medical procedure went horribly wrong.
A two-year-old girl recovering from drinking cleaning liquid died after a routine medical procedure went horribly wrong.

Toddler dies in dad’s arms after routine procedure

A "beautiful, bright" little girl who ingested dishwashing liquid died in her father's arms just a day after a routine procedure.

Callie Griffiths-I'Anson, 2, somehow found the commercial-strength caustic liquid after slipping from view while visiting a hotel with her mother.

She survived the ordeal but her health took a turn for the worse after a day procedure at the Royal Children's Hospital.

A nasal feeding tube was unknowingly placed into Callie's abdomen instead of her stomach, perforating the toddler's oesophagus.

 

Callie Griffiths-I’Anson, 2, died on January 12, 2018 after a routine procedure.
Callie Griffiths-I’Anson, 2, died on January 12, 2018 after a routine procedure.

 

She was discharged despite parents Natalia and Thomas raising concerns and died at home in regional NSW, Mr and Ms Griffiths-I'Anson waking to their daughter making a gurgling sound about 6am.

"She made a funny noise so Thomas reached over and he sat her up and I quickly got up and turned the light on,'' Ms Griffiths-I'Anson said.

"It all happened very quickly.

"Thomas said: "Are you ­all right Callie? Are you OK?"

"She just shook her head and closed her eyes. And she just went limp. She took her last breath in her father's arms.

"Our lives have been a blur of pain and heartache from that day forth.

"She was the light of our lives."

 

The beloved little girl’s death is now the subject of a coronial inquest.
The beloved little girl’s death is now the subject of a coronial inquest.

Callie attended the Royal Children's Hospital on January 11, 2018 for a scope to check how her oesophagus was healing and have a new nasogastric tube fitted.

She was discharged about 2pm.

Mr and Ms Griffiths-I'Anson said their daughter vomited and seemed uncomfortable and listless.

But they said they were reassured it was because of medication and she would be fine by the time they made the 4 ½ hour drive to Oaklands northwest of Albury.

When Callie's condition didn't improve Ms Griffiths-I'Anson phoned the hospital about 10pm and was told the on-call surgeon would call back.

But they were in surgery until 1.30am and didn't want to disturb the family so early.

Callie slept between her parents, Ms Griffiths-I'Anson placing the phone at the bedside and holding her daughter close.

The little girl was pronounced dead at Corowa Hospital, her grandmother who was staying over having performed CPR in a brave effort to save Callie's life.

Callie's family, which also includes two elder sisters, have created a special box of the cheeky youngster's favourite things to keep her memory alive.

They have pushed for a coronial inquest into the tragedy, to begin later this year.

 

Callie attended the Royal Children’s Hospital for a day procedure but her health worsened that night.
Callie attended the Royal Children’s Hospital for a day procedure but her health worsened that night.

 

Callie pictured with sister Lexia in the background.
Callie pictured with sister Lexia in the background.

"It's a huge loss in our lives,'' Ms Griffiths-I'Anson said.

"We knew she wasn't right but we were so filled with hope that she would be OK when she was still sent home.

"We have to spend the rest of our lives without our beautiful, bright and mischievous little girl. It is a heavy burden to carry but hopefully by sharing our story we can bring awareness to other families.

"We pray that Callie's inquest can bring about change, so that no more innocent lives are lost.

"Things need to change and we hope that Callie's life will be able to do that.

"We inherently understand that accidents do happen - they are an intrinsic part of life but at what point does such an accumulation of errors with such catastrophic consequences, stop being called an accident?

"Callie's death was a preventable tragedy. If we can stop one person from going through this it will be worthwhile.

"We are just going to keep fighting. We know Callie wouldn't want us to give up."

Polaris Lawyers founder Nick Mann, representing the family, said: "What happened to Callie is every family's worst nightmare. She went into hospital for a routine procedure, and 24 hours later her parents found her dead."

"Questions about what happened to Callie must be answered,'' he said.

"What happened in the hours leading up to her discharge from the hospital rightly forms part of an inquest now being conducted by the Coroner."

The inquest, before Coroner Paresa Spanos, will examine the nature of medical care at the Royal Children's Hospital, the decision to discharge Callie and the adequacy of the arrangements given her family lived so far away.

It will not look at how she ingested the liquid or her immediate care.

wes.hosking@news.com.au

Originally published as Toddler died in dad's arms after routine procedure


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