Paul and Gelria Faram with kids Paul Jr, Evie, Lucas, and Edith in 2020. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Paul and Gelria Faram with kids Paul Jr, Evie, Lucas, and Edith in 2020. Picture: Alix Sweeney

Family call for new law to protect kids after hospital death

A FAMILY reeling from the death of their three-year-old son over the weekend say his passing could have been avoided and are now pushing for a new law to ensure the same thing doesn't happen to anyone else.

Lucas Faram died on Sunday in Townsville University Hospital following long-stemming health complications.

The little battler was born at just 24 weeks gestation with a severe bleed to the brain which required a ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt to be inserted.

In his short life, Lucas also battled heart disease, chronic lung disease and cerebral palsy.

His parents, Paul and Gelria, believe doctors should have requested an MRI to check if the shunt was working when they arrived at the hospital emergency department on Friday.

Gelria Faram with her son Lucas when he was 2. Gelria pulled her three eldest children out of school to protect Lucas from COVID-19 at the height of the pandemic. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Gelria Faram with her son Lucas when he was 2. Gelria pulled her three eldest children out of school to protect Lucas from COVID-19 at the height of the pandemic. Picture: Alix Sweeney

The family said doctors ordered an X-ray which showed the shunt was in the right place, however did not show whether the shunt was working correctly.

"On Friday morning Lucas was vomiting. I took him to our GP who wrote me a letter that he wanted the hospital to see him," Mrs Faram wrote in a petition to Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt.

"We first went to ED and had a different doctor see us. They decided that Lucas had a viral infection and to give him some fluids. They also only did an X-ray when they really should of done an MRI to make sure his shunt was working."

Mrs Faram said they were in the emergency department until 4pm Saturday before Lucas was transferred to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit.

Mrs Faram then went home to shower while her husband Paul stayed behind. At 5pm Lucas's condition went downhill.

"I went up and saw my baby in PICU, they were saying he was having seizures and the medication was not working, so at midnight the PICU doctor decided to do an MRI," she said.

"This showed his shunt was not working and [there was] pressure on his little brain. They rushed him to surgery."

Mrs Faram said Lucas was in surgery for three hours before he was brought back.

"They waited an hour and checked his eyes. They were both dilated and fixed still. They said surgery had worked but the damage had been done."

Lucas died that afternoon.

Lucas Faram died at Townsville University Hospital on Sunday, January 17.
Lucas Faram died at Townsville University Hospital on Sunday, January 17.

"Our family is broken and shattered," she said.

"I want to make sure no child slips through. All children with shunts should get an MRI first thing to rule out blockages as soon as they arrive to ED. Having this could of saved my boy."

The Faram family are appealing for the government to introduce Lucas's Law in memory of their son.

A Townsville Hospital and Health Service spokesman said this was a tragic situation.

"We have been in contact with the family and will continue to work closely with them to ensure they are supported and given the facts about what occurred," they said.

"We are undertaking a step by step review of Lucas's care and will keep his parents fully informed of its progress.

"These cases are often complex and considered medical reviews are an important component in informing how we proceed.

"I am not able to comment on the specifics of the care provided without consent."

You can sign the Lucas' Law petition here.

caitlan.charles@news.com.au

Originally published as Family call for new law to protect kids after heartbreaking death

Lucas Ray Faram was born at the Royal Brisbane Women's Hospital, weighing 1lb 7oz (652g).
Lucas Ray Faram was born at the Royal Brisbane Women's Hospital, weighing 1lb 7oz (652g).


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