House debates

Monday, 26 October 2020

Statements by Members

South Australia: Health Care

1:42 pm

Photo of Tony ZappiaTony Zappia (Makin, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Tragically, four babies have died in recent weeks at Adelaide's Women's and Children's Hospital. The deaths have been attributed by some medical experts to the absence in Adelaide of a paediatric cardiac unit or a heart-lung bypass life support service, and the inability to transfer the babies to specialised cardiac units in either Sydney or Melbourne. It's also claimed that the deaths might have been avoidable, and that the internal hospital reporting system regarding the deaths is flawed.

The Women's and Children's Hospital is South Australia's major children's hospital, and South Australia is the only mainland state without a children's cardiac unit. Premier Marshall and health Minister Wade must explain what went wrong for those babies, why they were not transferred to Sydney or Melbourne; what more could have been done; and why infant cardiac services are not available in South Australia. They must also ensure that, when life-saving surgery is urgently needed, South Australian babies can immediately access it.

The families of those babies deserve nothing less than a full investigation into their deaths and an assurance that no other child will be denied life-saving surgery. I can only imagine the stress, pain and grief of those families sitting helplessly next to their babies. My heartfelt condolences to all of them.