TRAGEDY: Kesler James, 5, died of acute heart failure in Queensland after his streptococcal was not treated properly. Picture: CONTRIBUTED
HORSHAM resident Jennifer James is still coming to terms with her son Kesler’s death, but she has foundcomfort that hisstory has helped make changes.
Ms James has lived in Horsham for three years, but prior to that her family was caught up in a tragedy that shook up Queensland’s health system.
Kesler died in February 2012, four days after his fifth birthday and 16 days after his first hospital admission.
Kesler’s streptococcal developed into acute rheumatic fever because his treatment needs exceeded the capabilities at Mt Isa Base Hospital in Queensland.
“Kesler had got the flu and I took him up to the hospital. He had complained of a sore throat,” Ms James said.
“The emergency doctor said it was just the flu and to take him home and give him Panadol.”
Kesler attended his first day of prep but he was still unwell.
“He woke up and said he had a sore foot. I rushed him to hospital,” Ms James said.
“They did some blood tests and said they couldn’t find anything wrong.”
Kesler James. Picture: CONTRIBUTED
Further tests revealed Kesler a heart murmur and that he had strep in the previous few days. Kesler was flown to Townsville.
“It became apparent then that the strep had gone into rheumatic fever, which had gone into his heart,” Ms James said.
“Ijust thought my son had the flu. I was sent home by doctors seven times.”
Following an inquest, the coroner recommended the state’s medical evacuation service, Retrieval Services Queensland, be expanded to co-ordinate services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The coroner also recommended that Queensland Health develop a statewide approach to the management of children with acute cardiac conditions.
Ms James said hospitals werenow more accountable because ofKesler’s death.
The AgustaWestland AW609 tiltrotor, which could speed up medical evacuations in rural areas. Picture: LEONARDO HELICOPTERS
Aeromedical Innovation Australia group hasused Kesler as the face of its campaign to get the Queensland government to adopt theAgustaWestland AW609 tiltrotor.
The AW609 can match thespeed of a fixed-wing aircraft but rotates its propellers so it can land without the need for a runway.
“If this had been in place when Kesler got sick he would have survived,” Ms James said.
“It could be good for Horsham. It’s faster and saves travel time and staff time.”
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