Rebecca Chapman is angry at the treatment her daughter received at the Coffs Harbour Base Hospital Emergency Department.
Rebecca Chapman is angry at the treatment her daughter received at the Coffs Harbour Base Hospital Emergency Department. Trevor Veale

Hospital apologises to baby's mum

THE North Coast Area Health Service has apologised to a young mother who claims her nine month-old baby’s painful burns were handled in an unacceptable way by a local hospital.

As reported in Monday’s Advocate, Rebecca Chapman’s daughter Emme burnt her hands on a hot oven last Thursday.

It took three hours to see a doctor in Coffs Harbour Base Hospital’s Emergency Department and even then, no pain relief was issued and photos were taken to be emailed to Westmead Hospital; to be reviewed the following day.

“What I would like to know is how the Coffs Harbour Health Campus can justify leaving a nine-month-old baby girl to sit in a room for three hours with burn wounds on her hands, not even set up to deal with her pain relief, and only administering Nurofen and a bowl of cold water for her hands to rest in,” an angry Ms Chapman asked.

The NCAHS yesterday stood by its protocol for handling and evaluating such injuries.

“In accordance with NSW Health guidelines, the doctor followed protocol and contacted the Specialist Burns Unit at the Children’s Hospital Westmead to determine treatment and whether the child should be transferred,” a spokesperson said.

The distraught mum claimed the doctor did not know how to treat Emme’s hands.

The doctor in question is a fully qualified emergency practitioner and according to NCAHS, is “aware of all trauma protocols”.

Ms Chapman said her daughter passed out through pain and three hours of screaming before she was given any real attention.

She refuses to return to the hospital to have Emme’s dressing changed and has decided to have her GP do it instead.



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