A Queensland family is demanding answers after their baby girl was discharged from hospital while experiencing breathing problems – and found dead in her crib hours later.
“Lola got sick really quickly,” her dad Matthew Winchcole said.
The 20-month-old began exhibiting symptoms about 2pm, becoming lethargic and throwing up repeatedly on the afternoon of August 5.
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After she developed a fever, she was rushed to Beaudesert Hospital by her concerned parents about 8pm.
Mum Toni Winchcole told staff she was concerned about Lola’s rapid breathing.
Mum Toni Winchcole told staff she was concerned about Lola’s rapid breathing. Credit: 7NEWS
“She didn’t really seem too concerned with it,” Toni said.
“We pretty much went straight through because we were the only people in the emergency room.”
Lola was discharged from the hospital about 10.30pm but Toni said the doctor didn’t address Lola’s breathing issues.
“He gave me the impression that he thought that she would just recover from a general virus,” she said.
Lola was given Panadol and nausea medication, and her parents were told to keep her fluids up.
But Lola was unsettled when they arrived home, even in her parents’ bed.
“Her breathing was still quite raspy,” Toni said.
Toni and Matthew were concerned, but they had been by medical professionals they trusted that she’d be OK once the Panadol kicked in.
They put Lola back in her crib so she could settle, while Matthew dragged a mattress into her room so he could sleep next to her on the floor.
The next morning, Matthew got up to call his mother and tell her they didn’t need her to come over anymore.
When he walked back into Lola’s room he saw that she was lying face down in her crib.
“I ran in there and I grabbed her and screamed,” he said.
Matthew called emergency services and brought the toddler into the living room to give her medical attention.
“She was just unresponsive,” Toni said
Matthew called emergency services and brought the toddler into the living room to give her medical attention. Credit: 7NEWS
Lola was taken to Logan Hospital, where she was treated for about an hour before staff told them there was nothing more they could do.
“It was awful,” Toni said. “You can’t even describe it.”
Doctors told Toni and Matthew that they found invasive group strep in Lola’s blood
“They told us that’s quite common and most people recover quite quickly from it,” Toni said.
Lola’s cause of death has not yet been determined, and the family is waiting on test results and the coroner’s report.
Toni said they knew something was wrong from the start, but they trusted the medical staff.
“If you’re at the hospital and they try to send you away and you don’t think it’s right … just stay there,” Matthew said.
“You don’t want to come home to this nightmare.”
Toni urged parents to “trust your gut instinct”.
To Beaudesert Hospital and Queensland Health, Matthew said: “Just do better.”
“They could have done a lot more,” he said.
“They failed Lola.”
A review is underway at the hospital, with Metro South Chief Executive Noelle Cridland saying: “We are looking into the care and treatment that’s been provided to this child.”
The parents are now mourning their “perfect” daughter.
“She was just really bright and bubbly,” Toni said
“Just so happy. She was always smiling and laughing.”
“She was the perfect kid,” Matthew said.