Julian Hatch has suffered complex health problems in his first few weeks. Source: Brooke Hatch.
Julian Hatch has suffered complex health problems in his first few weeks. Source: Brooke Hatch.

System slammed by desperate mum

IT'S been nothing but heartache for a young Queensland mother who has been left exasperated by the health system's treatment of her young newly-born son.

Julian Hatch was only born 10 weeks ago but it has been a struggle for both him and his 25-year-old mother Brooke after a series of complex health problems hit the tiny baby.

The single mum, from Brisbane, said she felt like her local hospitals had "given up" on Julian after she was reportedly told not call a vital safeguarding hotline set up to keep hospital staff in check.

Ms Hatch said little Julian kept being discharged even though he was struggling to breathe and eat.

"It's bloody heartbreaking watching your own child like this not knowing what to do," she said. "Not being able to help your own child - the little person you made."

Now, the young mum said she didn't know what to do anymore and did not know whether he was safer at hospital or home.

It all started two weeks ago when Julian was admitted to Redland Hospital in Cleveland after being struck with what appeared to be a reaction to vaccinations. He was diagnosed with influenza A and bronchiolitis and sent home.

However, just hours later he was admitted to another hospital, Lady Cilento Children's Hospital in South Brisbane, with a diagnosis of pneumonia. He was put on high flow oxygen and given 36 hours of antibiotics.

Ms Hatch said the hospital was ready to discharge him - but the young mum said he was "obviously" struggling.

It was then Ms Hatch called a safeguarding hotline called Ryan's Rule, which allowed relatives to request a second opinion if they were not satisfied with a hospital's care or response.

The policy, which was started in December 2013 and developed by Queensland Health, was named after Ryan Saunders who died aged two after being sent home from Emerald Hospital with an incorrect diagnosis of mumps.

As a result of the call, Ms Hatch said Julian was kept at Lady Cilento for a further 24 hours.

The distressed parent asked for Julian to be transferred to Redland Hospital for further monitoring.

She believe her baby picked up influenza A in a shared room at the hospital while he was waiting for further tests. Just a few days later, he was discharged.

However, Julian was readmitted just a few days later after he was struggling to breathe and he had stopped feeding for 12 hours.

"I don't want him home because I know he will just end up in hospital again within 24 to 48 hours of being home," Ms Hatch said.

Julian keeps being discharged, but his mother is worried about his health. Source: Brooke Hatch.
Julian keeps being discharged, but his mother is worried about his health. Source: Brooke Hatch.

She said Redland Hospital kept him for a few days then discharged him, saying he was still getting over pneumonia. The hospital also reportedly told her Julian had a floppy larynx and nasal edema from all of the nasal suctioning which made him sound worse than he was.

"They said only bring him back if he's blue or hasn't wet his nappy in 24 hours," Ms Hatch said. "I'm frustrated at the whole system. I can't believe they are willing to send a baby home like that continuously."

Days after being discharged again, the exhausted mother took Julian to the GP because he was again struggling to breathe and hadn't fed in 12 hours.

She ended up taking him back to Lady Cilento that night because he hadn't eaten in nearly 24 hours and he has been there ever since. He now has influenza B, para-influenza 3 and adenovirus while still getting over pneumonia.

Despite all this, Ms Hatch claimed a social worker was sent to her home to tell her not to call Ryan's Rule for a second time.

"It was horrible," she said. "There's something in place to help a child or a person who can't think for themselves at that moment and they don't want you to use that - it's not right."

A Queensland Health said it was unable to comment on specific patient treatment.

"We understand having a 10-week-old baby in hospital is a stressful time for the family," a spokesman said. "We treat all patients with the appropriate care and attention."