They came to the hospital with a sick child, but they were sent home. Help came when it was too late. Their three-year-old son Damian is dead. The Prosecutor’s Office has been conducting proceedings regarding the exposure of a child to a direct danger of loss of life for over a year. Reportage by Agnieszka Madejska in the program Attention! TVN.
Jana and Vadim come from Ukraine. They have been living in Poland for over five years. The youngest of their three children was three-year-old Damian.
– He was a wonderful child, very cheerful, sang, danced – recalls the child’s mother.
“He never got sick, nothing happened, everything was fine,” adds the father.
“We were sent home with the baby”
The parents’ drama took place a year ago on April 27. In the evening, their youngest son Damian started vomiting. His parents took him to the children’s hospital at Niekłańska Street in Warsaw. There, at two in the afternoon, the boy was admitted to the hospital’s emergency department.
“The doctor examined him, gave him some medicine, and we went home. After that, he slept practically all day, says Mrs. Jana. And he adds: – The next day it was worse, his temperature rose, he vomited, his face changed, he had blue under his eyes. He also had blue lips. He looked bad.
On April 29, the parents went with their son to the same children’s hospital for the second time. From the moment of admission to the hospital emergency department, two hours passed before the boy was examined by the doctor on duty.
She looked at him. She examined him in general, there was no blood test, nothing like that. She yelled at me, said that nothing terrible was happening to the child. She told me to go home and go to her clinic – recalls Damian’s mother.
– We were sent home again with the child – emphasizes Mr. Vadim.
– The wife said to leave the child in the hospital, to give him a drip. The child would be with the doctors, the man believes. In his opinion, then his son would have lived.
The child’s condition worsened even more. There was bloody vomiting and diarrhea worsened. After a few hours, Damian was hospitalized for the third time, this time by ambulance. Surprisingly, the three-year-old received a yellow patient band, which means only the third step in the order of admission. After more than an hour of waiting for the doctor, the child continued to vomit.
“They just called the cleaning lady”
– They saw that the child in black vomited on the wall, and they just called the cleaning lady. I don’t know who it was, the nurse or someone else. My husband said to call for help for the baby. And she said that everything will be fine and we have to wait – recalls Damian’s mother.
– After all, when we got to the doctor, this child was in a very critical condition. They examined him, immediately took him to another office, where they tried to act – says Mrs. Jana.
The doctors saved him for two hours. A doctor came in and said she had bad news for us: “Your son is dead.” My wife and I were in shock – says the boy’s father.
– I started screaming and crying. For a mother, this is something impossible. I remember that when I left the hospital, I wanted to throw myself in front of the car so as not to feel the pain, says Damian’s mother.
It was sepsis
Within 44 hours, the boy’s parents sought help for him three times in the same hospital. What could have caused Damian’s death and could it have been prevented? An experienced doctor we asked for familiarized herself with the child’s medical records.
– The whole process shows that the child fell victim to a very severe infection in the form of sepsis – says Dr. Agnieszka Dyla, MD, a specialist in paediatrics, anaesthesiology and intensive care.
– Many bacteria are able to cause such a generalized reaction of the body. We talk about sepsis when these bacteria swim all over our blood, reach various organs, and these try to fight these bacteria. They’re starting to get worse. In sepsis, not only in children but also in adults, time is the most important factor. There is failure of many organs – kidneys, heart, lungs or brain – explains Agnieszka Dyla, MD, PhD.
– Since I am both a pediatrician and an anesthesiologist, I know that great vigilance is always important when working with children, especially the critically ill, and this is probably what was missing here at many stages – the expert believes.
The death of a child is a powerful shock for Damian’s parents. My husband wanted to go to war. He wanted to leave me and go to Ukraine. My son said that he did not want to live and wanted to see Damian – says the broken woman.
I want them to be held accountable for what happened. I blame the doctor who refused to admit my child to the hospital – stresses Jana.
The Prosecutor’s Office has been conducting proceedings regarding the exposure of a child to a direct danger of loss of life for over a year. The hospital spokesman did not accept our invitation to meet in front of the camera and sent a statement in which it was written that the representatives of the hospital did not want to talk to us until the circumstances of the boy’s death were legally clarified.
However, the hospital issued a statement. “The management and employees of the Prof. Jan Bogdanowicz Children’s Hospital are directly interested in a full explanation of all the circumstances of Damian Hnatyshyn’s death. After confirming the patient’s death, the hospital was in direct contact with the Prosecutor’s Office and provided all the materials necessary to explain it. During the ongoing investigation, the hospital immediately fulfills all the instructions of the Prosecutor’s Office, and the medical staff involved in Damian’s treatment appear for the interrogations planned in the course of the investigation. professional help, as well as warmth and understanding for their suffering.
How long will the prosecution process take? It turns out that over the last five years, over 10 cases of medical errors in this hospital have been registered in the Warsaw prosecutor’s offices. Proceedings lasted on average around two years, while court cases can take even longer.
– Everyone, seeing or hearing about such a situation, immediately thinks about themselves and their loved ones, what if I was waiting in the ER with a child vomiting blood, and no one would help me immediately – says Joanna Lazer, Attorney , representative of Damian’s parents. He adds: – Everyone is terrified and perhaps programs of this type will help to visualize the problem with the vigilance of doctors or with hospital procedures. The point is to ensure that patients are safe and that procedures are adequate to patients’ needs.
What symptoms in a child cannot be underestimated?
– Such a useful tip for parents is to look for big changes in the child’s behavior. For example, when he is very sleepy and cannot be awakened, or is so weak that he cannot stand up. Or a child who was happy to play, even when his temperature drops, he does not make much contact. He is not interested in the things he used to be interested in, even his favorite fairy tale. These are not discrete symptoms. This is something that cannot be overlooked – explains Agnieszka Dyla, MD, PhD.
Main photo source: Attention! TVN