By Tracy Bowden
The parents of a six-month-old boy who died after being misdiagnosed with gastroenteritis is demanding answers about their son’s death, saying his condition was treatable and the death preventable.
Dr Toby Greenacre, who treated baby Kyran, has been cautioned after being found guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct.
A Professional Standards Committee found he lacked attention to detail, communicated poorly with nursing staff, had poor time management and failed to prioritise the clinical needs of his patient.
Kyran’s parents Naomi and Grant Day gave evidence at a coronial inquiry on Tuesday about what happened with their son.
It all started on October 19, 2013 — the day they noticed something was wrong with Kyran.
“This is normally a happy baby, always with the biggest smile when he saw anyone, and he just wasn’t himself, he just wasn’t himself at all,” Ms Day told 7.30.
“He would go really pale and in pain and he would throw up.”
At 4:00pm that afternoon, the concerned parents took Kyran to Shoalhaven Hospital on the NSW south coast. The initial diagnosis was that Kyran had gastroenteritis.
Both of Kyran’s grandmothers, Jane Carratt and Pilar Otero, are registered nurses, and Ms Carratt (Grant’s mother) suspected something wasn’t right.
“I went over to the nurse and I said ‘do you think it could be intussusception, because he hasn’t got all the symptoms of gastro’, and she said ‘no’,” Ms Carratt told 7.30.
“She said the doctor doesn’t think so and so I accepted that, at the time I accepted that.”
Intussusception is a medical condition which leads to bowel obstruction. It is common in children under two, especially boys, and is a treatable condition.
Kyran continued to be treated for gastro, but instead of improving he got worse. By the next morning, Ms Day was panic-stricken.
“I was crying, saying there is something seriously wrong,” she said.
When Ms Carratt arrived at the hospital she was shocked by her grandson’s appearance.
“What I was confronted with still haunts me,” she said sobbing.
“His whole head just flopped forward, Naomi was trying to hold him, taking him from one shoulder to the other, and his head flopped forward and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
“His eyes were glassy and he was not responding to anyone in the room, and I said how long has he been like this?
“And she said, the last 90 minutes we’ve been trying to get the nurse to get the doctor.”
Ms Otero, Ms Day’s mother, also knew something was terribly wrong.
“I burst into tears because this looked like a child who was about to have a respiratory arrest,” she told 7.30.
“He looked so very sick, he had dark [circles] under the eyes, he just looked terrible and I knew that he was in big trouble.”
Kyran didn’t have gastro — his grandmother’s diagnosis of intussusception had been correct.
Fourteen hours after it was first suggested, Dr Greenacre agreed.