By BRODIE DONEGAN
Many of you probably have heard Zoe’s law (2) being discussed this week.
That law was named after my daughter.
My daughter who did not survive when a minivan driven by a drug affected driver on Christmas day 2009 left the road and hit me.
I was 32 weeks pregnant. It took three hours to extract me from the scene and transport me via helicopter to RNSH.
My daughter had a heartbeat upon arrival. Two hours later when they began to have trouble locating it, I was given an emergency caesarean.
Zoe didn’t make it. She couldn’t hold on that long. They couldn’t resuscitate her.
Zoe was brought to me. Gorgeous and just like her sister. She was almost 2kgs and 43cms long. She was perfect except for a mark on her lip from the resuscitation attempts. She was warm and she looked and smelt like any other newborn. She just wasn’t breathing. We were heartbroken.
I only got to see her two more times in the next 12 hours before the police took her to the coroners. I didn’t get to see her again until her funeral.
Our gorgeous 2 year old Ashlee also got to spend time with her.
She wanted to know why Zoe had a sore lip. She wanted to know if that was why she died.
I had many injuries including a 10cm screw inserted in my hip, broken rib, foot, and a de-gloved right thigh.
Losing my daughter was harder to recover from than any of my injuries.
I was in hospital for almost 5 weeks, I couldn’t walk on my right leg for 3 months and was unable to walk unaided for 5 months.
We couldn’t return home to our house for over 5 months.
Finally after 6 months, the driver was charged with Dangerous Driving causing grievous bodily harm to ME. Zoe was listed in with my injuries.
15 months after my accident the driver was sentenced to 9 months in jail and a further 18 month good behaviour bond. She FINALLY lost her license.
We have never felt that Zoe’s loss of life was acknowledged or taken into account. Losing her was far worse than my injuries. It was harder to recover from. Her loss was felt by our entire family.
We’d lost our daughter. Ashlee, her sister. Our parents, their granddaughter.
I couldn’t reconcile that the child I’d applied for a stillbirth certificate for, held a funeral for, received the baby bonus for, received paid parental leave from work for; wasn’t recognised separately to me.
This year two things happened. R.Fred Nile put in a law (Zoe’s law 1) without consulting us; this law covered the entire pregnancy and included crimes of negligence – this is something we have never endorsed and never wanted our daughters name attached to. So Chris Spence, our local MP helped us work on a law we could support. This law is Zoe’s Law (2).
I urge you to have a read of the Bill to understand exactly what we are campaigning for.
Zoe’s law (2) cannot in any shape or form charge the mother. It EXEMPTS ANYTHING done by the mother or with her consent.
Even if a mother, in a worst case scenario, committed a crime which as a result harmed her baby she would still not be charged with harming her own baby. (She would still be charged with any other relevant charges but not relating to her own baby).
It EXEMPTS medical professionals during the course of a medical procedure and medical professionals assisting a pregnant woman.