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Grieving parents seek $5m payout

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The heartbroken parents of a seven-year-old girl who died after waiting hours in a Perth emergency department have revealed they plan to chase millions of dollars in damages from the hospital that let them down.

Aishwarya Aswath died from organ failure due to sepsis after waiting two hours in the emergency department of Perth Children’s Hospital in April.

A report into the hospital’s management of her case revealed flaws in its operations, highlighting crews were short-staffed and workers exhausted.

Aishwarya’s parents Aswath Chavittupara and Prasitha Sasidharan last week said they wanted “the truth to come out”, but it’s now been revealed they plan to demand $5m in compensation from the hospital.

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The couple are launching claim in the civil court against the Western Australian government following the report’s release.

Camera IconAishwarya’s parents say they were ignored at Perth Children’s Hospital for up to two hours before the sudden death of their seven-year-old daughter. Credit: Supplied

Family spokesman Suresh Rajan said they were also planning to ask for the $5m damages payment to be paid on top of any legal compensation.

“It is difficult for (the family) to quantify exactly how much it (an ex-gratia payment) should be,” Mr Rajan told The West Australian.

“But you would expect from based on what we have seen from other ex-gratia payments, you are probably not going to be looking at anything less than $5m.

“That would be the very minimum.”

The couple are now seeking $5m in damages.
Camera IconThe couple are now seeking $5m in damages. Credit: Supplied

The investigation into Aishwarya’s death resulted in 30 recommendations, including recognising parental input, improving the nurse and medical workforce and the layout of the hospital’s emergency department, and better understanding culturally and linguistically diverse patients and their families.

The independent report found emergency department staff were rundown, demoralised and isolated, and communication with Aishwarya’s parents was insufficient.

It also found that the larger, reconfigured emergency department had proved more challenging for staff, with the triage and waiting areas particularly vulnerable.

Aishwarya’s mother said she begged for her daughter to be assessed by doctors after her eyes became cloudy and her hands turned cold.

“She had all the symptoms of sepsis,” she said.

“They didn’t have time to look at her and identify the symptoms.”

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