A couple are suing a Queensland hospital for medical negligence. According to them, staff did not do enough to give their premature twin sons a chance to fight for life.
Dianne Radke was 22 weeks and 5 days pregnant when she experienced the first contractions. When she arrived at Logan Hospital with her husband, Christopher, nurses informed them that staff would not attempt to resuscitate the twins after birth because they were less than 23 weeks. According to Christopher, nurses explained that: “we will deliver them and place them on your breast so that you can cuddle them and say goodbye”.
Hoping to give their sons a chance to survive, Christopher asked for his wife to be transferred to the nearby neonatal unit at Mater Hospital, but the hospital refused to accept the transfer. He also asked for his wife to be given medication to delay delivery. The couple waited all day but to no avail. Christopher then invoked “Ryan’s Rule”. This rule was created for parents who believe that their concerns for their child are not being taken into account. According to Christopher, this warning immediately improved the situation and a nurse came running with two specialists and the medication that had been requested 7 hours earlier.
Dianna was then transferred to Mater Hospital and the medication delayed the delivery by 36 hours. Christopher regrets the fact that the medicines weren’t given earlier, “we don’t know whether she would have gone to term or given birth three weeks earlier”.
The twins were born on 7 May 2017. They currently have a 20% chance of survival and health problems are accumulating. The parents are aware of the fact that their children will be disabled if they survive. Christopher added, “if the delivery had taken place at Logan Hospital, we would have watched them fight to breathe for an hour and then they would have died”.
Note from Gènéthique:
- Born before the end of the legal time limit for abortion: the story of one of GB’s most premature babies
- Babies born at 23 weeks fuel debates about the abortion time limit
Daily Mail Australia, Brianne Tolj (16/06/2017)