GP’s anger over hospital death of child patient

A GP at the centre of a case that resulted in the death of a child patient in hospital – despite her correct diagnosis of a ruptured appendix – has spoken of her frustration over the tragedy.

Speaking to MO after a NSW Coroner’s Court finding on the 2009 case, Dr Chandra Gounder said she believed communication breakdowns and pressure on GPs had led to the death of eight-year-old Jacob Belim.

She had been angered when told by Jacob’s father that his son had died following delayed surgery, 12½ hours after she had diagnosed the boy and arranged his emergency transport to hospital.

NSW Deputy State Coroner Scott Mitchell said last week the boy’s death was a preventable tragedy, finding that an emergency department registrar had failed to adequately refer to the ambulance notes, read Dr Gounder’s referral letter or arrange an ultrasound. Instead, the boy was incorrectly diagnosed as having an obstructed