A CQ mother is claiming that Rockhampton Hospital staff overdosed her newborn son on insulin last year.
A CQ mother is claiming that Rockhampton Hospital staff overdosed her newborn son on insulin last year. Contributed

Police investigate newborn baby's overdose at CQ hospital

WHAT was supposed to be one of the happiest moments of a CQ mother's life quickly turned into a nightmare when her newborn son was overdosed on administered insulin, over five times more than the highest ever seen at Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital.

She is now speaking out about how her stay at Rockhampton Base Hospital and the actions of staff resulted in the overdose of her child.

The mother, who will remain anonymous, has spoken out in hopes she may help prevent the same thing happening to another child.

LNP Shadow Minister for Health Ros Bates raised the matter at Estimates hearings in State Parliament yesterday morning and provided a redacted letter from the mother.

"I'm suffering everyday knowing the person who was responsible for doing this to my son is still working with babies in the maternity ward," the mother said in the letter.

"I have not been offered any type of support and the hospital, I feel, has swept this under the rug.

"The hospital director informed us to not make contact with anyone (media, social media etc) regarding this incident in fears it would 'harm their reputation'.

"But I'm now at the point where something needs to be done, and it needs to be done now."

Around this time last year, the expecting mother went to Biloela Hospital at 39 weeks gestation, for reduced fetal movements.

She was advised to go to Rockhampton Base for an emergency ultrasound and was induced that same day.

It was not an easy birth. She fainted due to low blood pressure when the epidural was administered and she become unresponsive.

After a heavily monitored birth, her happy and healthy son was born.

At 1.30am the next day, things took a turn for the worse when her son became unresponsive and was "floppy, star gazing, jittery, sweating and failed all of his reflex tests".

The baby was rushed to the special care ward where the paediatric team worked on him.

After four attempts at a blood sugar reading, the results came back as a very low 0.6, signalling hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar).

IV lines were inserted into the baby's arms, blood samples were sent to different labs across Queensland and he was given glucose.

Related: Swallowing danger: 12 kids rushed to Rocky Hospital

His blood sugars yo-yoed and couldn't be stabilised. After discussions with Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, doctors decided to send the baby to Brisbane.

He was monitored in the Brisbane hospital's NICU and given steroids, and medications to attempt to stabilise his blood sugar.

The days dragged by slowly and the mother said she and her fiance "were preparing for the worst".

"The amazing doctor that was taking care of our son pulled us aside to update us," she said.

"The doctor advised us that (our son) was improving with each day but there was something he needed to tell us.

"He explained to us that the blood results had come back with an exogenous amount of insulin in his system.

"His blood insulin level was 10370 and the highest they have ever seen was 200."

Due to the "strange and rare event", police were called to investigate, and the parents were questioned and cleared of any wrong-doing by two detectives from the Child Trauma and Sexual Assault unit.

"We had just found out that someone had injected our son with unprescribed insulin at Rockhampton Base Hospital," the mother said.

After further tests and a clear MRI, the baby son was found to be improving and the case was forward onto Rockhampton's Child Protection Investigation Unit.

"At first we were getting lots of information about what was going on with the case. Now, not so much," she said.

"Our calls and emails are being ignored by police and Rockhampton Base Hospital.

"We are now left in the dark. We don't know what's happening with our case.

"The hospital also conducted an internal investigation where nothing came back."

The mother said she and her fiance sought legal advice but were told there was nothing that could be done as their son wasn't seriously injured.

Related: Rockhampton part of 1000s of preventable hospitalisations

"We also have an investigation happening through the Office of the Health Ombudsman," the mother said.

"They had contacted us the other day to inform us that because there was no documentation of insulin being given at Rockhampton Hospital, that they have basically denied any and all responsibility."

The mother now struggles with PTSD, anxiety and depression as a result of her ordeal.

"This shouldn't have happened under any circumstances and something needs to change."

CQ Health chief executive Steve Williamson said it was inappropriate to provide comment on the issue as it was the subject of an ongoing Queensland Police Service investigation.

Rockhampton's Child Protection Investigation Unit declined to make a comment.

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