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"Low body weight young adults, disabled, admitted to an Adult medical ward."

About: Mackay Base Hospital / Intensive Care Unit Mater Hospital Brisbane

(as a parent/guardian),

My 21 year old daughter has a low body weight (20 kg) due to cerebral palsy with reduced muscle mass. She was admitted via ED to an adult medical ward at Mackay Base Hospital with a febrile illness, ? sepsis and hypoxia. As a result of this placement, I believe she was severely compromised by overdoses of fluid and drugs, which I also believed resulted in pulmonary oedema, multi-organ failure with eventual admission to ICU. It was apparent to me that the staff looking after her did not appear to have the the training or the equipment to deal with a patient her size. On my recommendation, paediatric rescusitation equipment was placed in her room. The paediatric CNC refused to take her and was very unhelpful. The staff looking after my daughter seemed to try hard but were, in my opinion clearly out of their depth. It was at my insistence that the ICU team became involved when it was obvious to me that she was hours from dying. My daughter was placed on life support and it was expected that she would die.

Our family live in Brisbane and it was a MAJOR fight to get her accepted to an ICU in Brisbane. I think that the QLD Health rule that 'acceptance to paeds care is solely based on age' should be urgently reviewed. I would strongly recommend that any young adult with a low body weight should also be reviewed by a Paediatrician, especially regarding volumes and doses of fluids and drugs administered.

My daughter was eventually (I felt reluctantly) accepted to the Mater Adult ICU who did a fantastic job. She has made a good recovery - despite the dismal prognosis we were given. The eventual diagnosis was influenza. I have no doubt that much of my daughter's deterioration was iatrogenic and I believe this was a direct result of the apparent lack of staff training and the delayed opinion of a paediatric specialist.

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