A Victorian family has launched legal action after it took doctors half a year to find a button battery swallowed by their daughter.
Shaylah Carmichael’s parents were sent on an excruciating quest for answers when the five-year-old fell ill unexpectedly and feared she would die when they could not get to the bottom of the issue.
It took six months of GP and hospital visits to uncover what was making the little girl sick – she had ingested a tiny battery commonly found in toys and household products.
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“You’re doing everything you’re meant to as a parent, taking them to be seen and to walk out with no answers almost every single time is horrible,” Kirra Carmichael told 7NEWS.
Now aged 10, Shaylah has already undergone nine procedures to repair her esophagus but more are needed.
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“Her esophagus was so eroded that food or fluid could no longer get down,” Carmichael said.
Her family, from Cranbourne West, has now launched legal action over her medical treatment.
A statement of claim lodged with the Supreme Court alleges a GP and Monash Health breached duty of care by delaying the diagnosis and battery removal.
“(The) GP ought to have actioned things much earlier and ought to have appreciated the urgency of the situation,” Maurice Blackburn principal lawyer Tom Ballantyne said.
Shaylah Carmichael couldn’t even take on food or fluid because her esophagus was so badly eroded. Credit: 7NEWS
Lawyers claim the delayed diagnosis caused life-long physical and psychological injuries and are seeking compensation for the family.
But Shaylah’s loved ones want broader medical reform too, suggesting that anyone presenting to emergency departments with the same symptoms undergo an X-ray “straight away”.
“The worst thing in the world thinking my child is going to die,” Carmichael said.
Monash Health declined to comment.
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