1 of 4 babies exposed to TB dies

RiotPost 3 December 2009 30

ABC Online and the Canberra Times are carrying the tragic story of a 14 week old baby boy, Douglas ”DJ” Franco-Gill, who died weeks after being exposed to Tubercilosis when an undiagnosed carrier, the father of another of the child, was allowed to stay overnight in the Canberra Hospital’s antenatal unit back in September. DJ was was born 10 weeks premature. He was one of four newborn babies in the antenatal unit at the time of the exposure.

Questions have been raised regarding hospital proceedures, ACT Health’s responce to the parents concerns and the cause of the child’s death (a coronial investigation has been called).

What's Your Opinion?

Please login to post your comments, or connect with
30 Responses to 1 of 4 babies exposed to TB dies
Granny Granny 1:37 pm 06 Dec 09

Oh, God, I would never go back to Calvary public for maternity. Twice is two times too often. I would certainly go back to TCH.

proneon proneon 9:48 am 05 Dec 09

So are husbands allowed to stay or not?

We are talking about the antenatal ward not postnatal, alot of the patients are there for considerable time and while my wife was there several partners stayed overnight for emotional support in what can be a very difficult and stressful situation

sepi sepi 5:34 pm 04 Dec 09

I was pretty unimpressed with Calvary public a few years ago. Tiles falling off the bathroom wall, and a drafty window next to the bed so I had to wear my dressing gown all night to stay warm.

I’ve also heard really good things about TCH. At least they only have rooms for two women, not four together like Calvary.

I think both of them have good and bad points, and mostly both are fine until they get really busy, when things start to deteriorate.

I hope a few more facts come out about this very sad case. Surely a baby in a humidicrib couldn’t have been in a normal ward room anyway. I just feel so incredibly sorry for the parents, and also for the other parents who are still waiting on results about their little babies.

smilesr smilesr 12:20 pm 04 Dec 09

The fact there is a possibility of the baby’s death being linked to a TB case resulting from uncertain hospital policy means that the media (and hence all of us) would and should be taking notice.

I saw in a new article in the CT that the doctor with her newborn who was sharing the room with the TB case is concerned that the TB drugs the babies were taking could have been related to the death of Douglas. They would be very strong antibiotics and on a susceptible system (with the baby being 10 weeks premature) might have put extra stress on the poor little fellow’s body.

Buzz2600 Buzz2600 11:15 am 04 Dec 09

My sincere condolences to the parents and family of the baby. That said, was the death of this child related to TB in any way? Until that link is made, its a media beat up. Sure, anyone with TB shouldn’t have been there in the first place. But how would hospitals police this? Test everyone who wants to visit a patient?

TCH is staffed with doctors and nurses who take their jobs very seriously. I’ve seen first hand their care and dedication in the neonatal intensive care ward. There is no way they would knowingly put a child in harms way.

Grail Grail 11:02 am 04 Dec 09

Skidbladnir said :

Trained medical professionals did their analysis & risk profiling, and said 4 babies and a whole pile of adults, were all at risk of contracting tuberculosis.

That’s not the issue. The reason the child died is that he was not given care appropriate to a TB case – the CT story recounts how the health care professionals involved claimed that the child’s problem was simply reflux.

The issue is not that a father was allowed to stay in the antenatal unit with his partner and child. If we pursue that line of thought, you’ll have nurses working overtime to eject people from the antenatal unit simply because they blow their nose or clear their throats.

The issue from what little information is presented to us seems to be that people need to learn to get multiple opinions. If they don’t believe that a child’s coughing up white-flecked sputum is simply reflux, they need to know that you won’t get struck by lightning if you go to other doctors and get second or third opinions.

The father’s “undiagnosed TB” might easily have been explained as “smoker’s cough”. The other three children aren’t reported to be having problems, so the notification of the exposure in the media seems to be a beat-up by some journalist pushing an agenda (when is a journalist not pushing an agenda). Yes, the health system has problems, but the problems won’t be solved by overreacting and forming a lynch mob every time a premature baby dies.

Someone’s baby died. Let the grieve, let the officials involved get on with figuring out what happened and whether there’s a sensible course of action (ie: something that doesn’t involve keeping new babies in bubbles separated from the rest of the world for three weeks) that could have prevented the death.

Media circuses are only about trying to get the incumbent out so some new person can have their turn at messing things up.

sepi sepi 10:38 am 04 Dec 09

So are husbands allowed to stay or not?

At Calvary Public you are told that husbands are not allowed to stay, and there is only and office type visitor chair next to the bed. This is in rooms with 4 patients (quite small rooms too). With one toilet.

One partner did stay for the first night with his wife. He was quiet, and I assume the staff didn’t notice him, or turned a blind eye. However we were certainly told partners could not stay.

So are partners actually encouraged to stay at TCH antenatal, or not?

One newspaper report early on quoted a new mother as saying she complained about the man staying, and got herself and her baby moved to another room after one night. Incidentally she was a dr. It didn’t say why she complained though – I wonder if he was coughing all night, or just disruptive in some other way. Or if she just felt fathers should not stay in shared rooms.

As to the exposure. Of course they may have still be exposed if he had just visited at visiting hours. Nevertheless I would rather be around someone with TB for a few hours than overnight. And if the overnight exposure was against hospital rules, then TCH is open to being sued I would think.

Bluenomi Bluenomi 10:34 am 04 Dec 09

Woody Mann-Caruso said :

Glad I’m having my baby at Calvery…

Because nothing bad ever happens to anybody in private hospitals.

Calvary has public maternity as well, it isn’t just private maternity there.

I know many women who have had babies both public and private at Calvary and public at TCH and the only people who has issues with the hospital were at TCH. TCH might have a fab neonatal intensive care unit but by all accounts their general maternity leaves a lot to be desired. Plus would you want to have your baby at a hospital with recent TB cases? I’d rather fork out the cash to get a private room in another hospital where I know I’m not going to have stranger who may or may not be sick sharing my room unauthorised

stemo stemo 10:25 am 04 Dec 09


stemo stemo 10:19 am 04 Dec 09

dj,s full name is douglas jeffery franco-gill

Friska Friska 9:38 am 04 Dec 09

TCH is disgusting, I was there a few years ago with a few broken bones and I ended up leaving half way through recovery because the state of their bathrooms/toilets are disgraceful. I constantly had stomach bugs and chucked every time I went in there. I witnessed a hospital cleaner clean a shared bathroom in a ward once every 3/4 days!!
I now have health insurance and swear to this day I will never enter that hospital again.

proneon proneon 9:08 am 04 Dec 09

My son was born at TCH and was in the Neonatal intensive care unit next to DJ, I have nothing but total respect for the fantastic and caring staff at TCH, everyone we had contact with did a brilliant job. The rooms in Ante Natal which are on the floor below and have single seat lounge chairs that fold out to a bed for partners to stay overnight. The only complaint I have is the terrible parking.

cleo cleo 12:09 am 04 Dec 09

Don’t go to the press they are A1 arseholes!

mred mred 11:12 pm 03 Dec 09

What’s the difference if he stayed over night or not? Surely the unfortunate baby who died could just as easily come to the same grief from a 15 minute visit. I sure hop husbands aren’t thrown out of hospitals because of some poor tragedy.

Anna Key Anna Key 10:33 pm 03 Dec 09

But if the father was undiagnosed, how might this be avoided? What would have happened if the mother had undiagnosed TB and passed it on?

It would also be nice if the poor child could be known by his name rather than “DJ”.

54-11 54-11 10:02 pm 03 Dec 09

No, junkett, we should not leave it alone. This is a public health issue and one that is important to us.

Don’t even think about censoring poeple who have concerns about our (deteriorating) health system, and even more concerns about our (deteriorating) health minister.

junkett junkett 8:19 pm 03 Dec 09

Oh, FFS! We don’t live third world here as far as health care goes. As much as I hate the Labor party, don’t take press articles as gospel. Even the Beaker (“all hale the Beaker”) Stanhope can’t stop tragic events.

As always there will be more to the story that we will not and should not hear about (despite all Waterford’s very public postulating “our right to know”).

This is a shit of a time for the parents even if going straight to the press was a very bad move. Leave it alone.

Thumper Thumper 6:32 pm 03 Dec 09

Because nothing bad ever happens to anybody in private hospitals.

Well no-one has died of TB recently.

But it’s all good, Katy said so.

TAD TAD 6:31 pm 03 Dec 09

A sad case much like many others every week that are grieved in private.

However with the opportunity for sensationalism by the CT and political mileage by MLAs, this poor child and his parents’ grief is laid bare in the most exploitative way.

Is the death in any way related to TB?

No but that would make a far less interesting story.

housebound housebound 6:05 pm 03 Dec 09

Funny thing, today we get news of a child dying, and Katy’s office punps out media releases telling us all how well the health portfoliio is doing.

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Region Group Pty Ltd

Search across the site