A family’s heartbreak has been laid bare with the release of a review into the hospital services provided to their six-year-old son.
A family’s heartbreak has been laid bare with the release of a review into the hospital services provided to their six-year-old son.

’Worried it’s something worse’: Mum’s fears before son died

A CAPE York family has given details to a review of the "inadequate" health services provided to their six-year-old son just days before his unexpected death.

In a Health Ombudsman's report released this week, the family said a sick Charles (Charlie) Izaak Wilfred Gowa was taken to Bamaga Hospital emergency department by his parents on January 5, 2017 and every following day for five days.

Despite his condition rapidly deteriorating, Charlie was only given a "rehydration ice block and paracetamol" and his family told to take him home.

"They said it was gastro - I am worried it's something worse," Charlie's mother, whose full name was not provided, said in the review.

Presenting with a fever, body weakness and having trouble walking, Charlie was finally admitted to hospital on January 10.

Within days he was fighting for his life and transferred to Cairns Hospital's intensive care unit and then the paediatric intensive care unit of the Lady Cilento Children's Hospital in Brisbane.

Charlie's brain began to shut down and his parents were told "it was very likely he would not survive".

Charlie died on January 14, 2017, as a result of overwhelming sepsis caused by a rare bacterial infection called melioidosis - a disease that can be contracted from dirt.

The quality of health services provided by Bamaga Hospital has come under the microscope after a six-year-old boy died from rare bacterial infection, melioidosis, following ‘inadequate’ initial treatment.
The quality of health services provided by Bamaga Hospital has come under the microscope after a six-year-old boy died from rare bacterial infection, melioidosis, following ‘inadequate’ initial treatment.

Concerned about the "inadequate treatment provided to Charlie" by Bamaga Hospital, his family contacted the Health Ombudsman.

The report outlined 20 recommendations for Bamaga Hospital to implement following Charlie's tragic death.

"Charlie's condition was not appropriately considered, deterioration was not recognised, and his clinical care was not escalated accordingly," it said.

Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service chief executive Beverley Hamerton said there had been two internal reviews of the care provided to Charlie and the hospital had "developed significantly since 2017".

She said the health service would also work with the Health Ombudsman in relation to the recommendations provided to offer "assurance to the communities within our region".

"TCHHS respectfully acknowledge the loss of Charles Gowa and recognise the distress and anguish of his parents and extended family," she said.

"Charlie's story as told by his mother is distressing to read and we recognise the pain and frustration felt by the family."

Originally published as 'Worried it's something worse': Mum's fears before little boy's death



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