Our baby shouldn’t have died: Health Ministry investigates parents’ claim

An 8-month-old baby died of several complications in Vanua Levu last week and her parents are crying foul over her death. 

Mother, Losalini Kamanalagi said her daughter’s death could have been avoided.

“I took her to Nabouwalu hospital on Wednesday 10 March because she had a fever,” Kamanalagi said. “I thought it was just because she was teething so I explained everything to the nurse and she gave us Amoxicillin and told us to go back home. She kept running a fever the next day on Thursday and I kept giving her amoxicillin as they said.”

Kamanalagi took baby Vasiti back to the hospital on Friday when she noticed the baby struggling to breathe, crying excessively and kept vomiting.

“I was so worried about her because there was no change in her condition in fact it was getting worse. They gave me panadol and ORS, sponged her down and then sent us home again.”

In tears, Kamanalagi recounted asking the nurses if Vasiti could be admitted so the doctors could keep her under observation.

“But they just said she was not that serious and that the Panadol will work to bring the fever down.”

The grieving mother said that at around 6.30 am on Saturday she noticed Vasiti struggling to breathe.

“I gave her the panadol at 6 am just as they prescribed and she just took some and spewed out the rest. At around 6.30 am Vasiti began to cry and I noticed straight away that she was struggling to breathe and was beginning to panic. I grabbed her in my arms and asked my brother in law to take us immediately to the hospital again. When we got there the nurses tried giving her oxygen but the tank was empty. While my baby lay there they tried to get another oxygen  tank that was filled.”

Kamanalagi says she asked that Vasiti be seen by a doctor but was told that they would start at 8am.

“They then told me that a specialist was on the way from Labasa and would also check Vasiti.”

According to Kamanalagi the specialist didn’t arrive until 1pm.

“By the time the doctor arrived, Vasiti was in distress. The doctor told us then that she wouldn’t try to resuscitate Vasiti because it was unclear to her how many times the nurses may have done the same to her. They then tried to find a vein so they could inject her but they couldn’t. They tried her arms, her fist, her toes and they ended up telling me that they would possibly have to make an incision. I just yelled at the top of my voice when I saw Vasiti looking oddly pale in color and that’s when the doctor told me to get our stuff together because we were to go to Labasa.”

Kamanalagi said she was worried about the road conditions at the bypass route between Seaqaqa and Labasa.

“When we hit the tar sealed road at Tabia, the doctor stopped the ambulance and they worked on Vasiti. We made it to hospital only to be told that Vasiti had died enroute. They told me that her vital readings had been fluctuating between 30 and 40.”

The post mortem report stated that Vasiti had died of several causes. Listed on the death certificate as causes of death were hypovolaemic shock, cerebral oedema, acute gastroenteritis and severe dehydration.

“She was eating and drinking milk and she never had a fall or hit her head.” Losalini said.

Health Minister Ifereimi Waqainabete confirmed to MaiTV news that his ministry was looking into the claims.

“I know it’s (claims) being investigated.” he said.

Baby Vasiti was laid to rest in the burial grounds adjacent to the Nabouwalu hospital, next to her grandmother who passed away two months ago.

Her father Josaia Nawaqavolau cradled her coffin and wailed as the family prepared to bury her.

Isa Turaga noqu goneyalewa mata kamica” Josaia wailed.(Oh Lord my sweet faced little girl)

Baby Vasiti was an only child.

Photo: Vasiti’s parents Josaia (in white) and Losalini (in black) hold a framed photo of her while relatives console them.

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