Monday, August 15, 2011

Jacob Belim, 8, dies after hospital doctors fail to diagnose burst appendix

Yvonne Belim wipes away the tears after an inquest found that doctors failed to save her boy's life. Picture: Ross Schultz Source: The Daily Telegraph
Jacob Belim
Jacob Belim, 8, died from a burst appendix in 2009. Picture: Ross Schultz Source:
  • Boy, 8, presented with abdominal pain
  • GP referral letter not "adequately consulted"
  • Died during surgery after appendix burst
A LITTLE boy is dead because many of the doctors who treated him failed to diagnose that he was critically ill with a burst appendix, an inquest has found today.
Jacob Belim died at the Royal Alexandria Hospital for Children at Westmead Hospital in Sydney's west, on March 28, 2009, after suffering vomiting, abdominal pain and a fever for several days.

A Coroner has found that eight-year-old Jacob died of heart failure as a result of "septic...shock consequent on a burst appendix".

Jacob was treated at Liverpool Hospital in Sydney's southwest prior to his transferral to Westmead, but staff there did not make reference to appendicitis as a possible diagnosis.

Deputy State Coroner Scott Mitchell criticised the examination of the little boy by Dr Claire Ferreira at Liverpool Hospital, who he says failed "to ensure prompt antibiotic therapy and adequate hydration" which "placed Jacob in danger."

He described Jacob's time at Liverpool Hospital, which doesn't offer specialty paediatric surgery, as "a tragic waste of time".

"I think it is clear that Dr Ferreira's care of Jacob was wanting in a number of respects," he said.

"Her failure in the course of her examination adequately to consult the notes and read the GP's letter of referral, her failure to consider appendicitis, at least as a different diagnosis and her failure to arrange an ultrasound led to a misdiagnosis and contributed to a degree of uncertainty, confusion and delay in Jacob's subsequent treatment."

He died during emergency surgery which was performed after he did not respond to the "maximum paediatric intensive care treatment" at Westmead, the inquest found.

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