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He was 80kg when he died. He was 10 yrs old. He never stood a chance.

By SHAUNA ANDERSON

The case has been called pure neglect.

He weighed more than twice the average weight for a 10-year old boy.

His mother couldn’t even make her bed without a hit of ice.

This 10-year old boy never stood a chance.

In yet another heartbreaking example of how chronically our system fails many children an innocent 10-year old boy has died.

Killed, according to the Coroner, by neglect.

The heartbreaking story has promoted the NSW coroner to call for changes to health policies and an establishment of a specialised weight management unit for children.

Fairfax Media reports that the boy referred to by the Coroner as “AA”, was declared brain dead in 2010 after a cardiac arrest that was a direct result of his obesity.

The boy’s sleep apnonea causing the heart failure.

His mother could not even make a bed without a hit of ice.

Coroner Elaine Truscott who handed down her findings on AA’s death said that the young boy’s parents were both chronic drug abusers – having spent more than a decade on the methadone program and his mother was addicted to amphetamines.

News Limited have reported that AA’s mother could not perform even the most basic household task without a hit of ice or amphetamines.

The Coroner said that the boy’s parents had been told that if he did not lose weight he would die.

However they ignored these warnings and continued to feed him a diet of junk food, and repeatedly skipped medical appointments.

The coroner reported that his mother instead of acting, intead of following advice, repeatedly told authorities it was none of their business.

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AA first presented to hospital at he age of seven. Fairfax Media say he had a body mass index of 30, well above the normal range of 14-20 and weighed 50kg.

It is reported that he barely attended school, yet his case was never allocated to a caseworker.

“By this stage there should have been a picture presenting itself that AA’s medical needs were being neglected, but there were still no reports of referrals to a paediatric social worker or Community Services [by the hospital],” Ms Truscott said

“Despite repeated reports to the [Community Services] Helpline, there was also a lack of understanding by Community Services about the significance of the reports being made and the level of risk of harm to AA,” she said.

The Coroner has recommended a childhood weight management unit be set up.

The Coroner said in her findings that despite his mothers $100 a day amphetamine habit and his father’s “passivity and inaction”. Despite the fact that both parents refused to give evidence at the inquiry there was no doubt they loved him.

They just couldn’t care for him.

Ms Truscott said. “But the one thing (he) really needed help with could just not be delivered, and not only did (he) suffer from morbid obesity and obstructive sleep apnoea, he also suffered from medical neglect,” she said.

The Coroner’s recommendations included – that Newcastle’s John Hunter Hospital establish dedicated childhood weight management and child protection units, that child protection policies be amended and that John Hunter Hospital receive more resources to address childhood obesity and child protection issues.

If you know a family who need help contact The Australian Childhood Foundation.

Or Child Abuse Prevention on 1800 699 099.

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