A coronial inquest will be held this week into the death of a 12-year-old Aboriginal girl who tragically died in 2019 at the Royal Children’s Hospital, after spending almost four days at a regional hospital. The girl will be known as Sasha during the proceedings.
At the time of her death, parental responsibility for Sasha was held by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Neither the Department nor any of Sasha’s treating doctors were aware that she had an underlying heart condition even though her father, who played an active role in her life, had the same condition.
Sasha’s father hopes that the inquest will uncover why the Department never collected his daughter’s family medical history.
He will also ask why it took so long for him be informed that Sasha was in hospital, and whether the medical care Sasha received at the regional hospital was adequate.
Sasha’s father will be represented by the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service during the inquest. He hopes that recommendations from the Inquest will fix faults in the system and ensure no other child is failed the way Sasha was.
The Inquest will take place at the Coroner’s Court in Melbourne on December 5th and 6th.
Quotes attributable to Sasha’s father
“Sasha was a bubbly, vibrant and joyful child. She was full of life and proud to be Aboriginal. She loved music, dancing and singing, particularly when it gave her a chance to express her culture.”
“We believe Sasha didn’t get the chance she deserved for the medical treatment she needed and was let down by Child Protection and by the regional hospital. This hurts me every day.”
“I don’t want this to happen to any other child. If we can fix the faults in the system, we’ve done our job.”
Quotes attributable to Sasha’s paternal grandmother
“We are heartbroken that Sasha will not grow old, and that we will never again hear her voice sing out. We miss her so much.”
“Before she passed, Sasha spent almost four days at a regional hospital, before being urgently transferred to a tertiary hospital. My son was not told that his daughter was in hospital until the transfer took place.”
“We believe there are systemic issues in the child protection system around who knows what, what information is collected, and how information is passed on to health providers, and we think Sasha fell through these gaps.”