Ontario Mother Wants Answers in Child's Death

Posted on behalf of Greg Monforton & Partners Injury Lawyers on Mar 16, 2010 in Personal Injury

The family of an eight-year-old girl who died at a Windsor, Ont., hospital last month has hired a lawyer to help her find out why the little girl died.

Destiny Sammut died Feb. 7 in the emergency room at Windsor Regional Hospital.

More than a month after the girl's death, Jenny Sammut has no idea what killed her daughter, so has taken on a lawyer to pressure the hospital for answers.

"It's not easy to understand how a child that was perfectly healthy can just be gone," Sammut, who also has three other children, told CBC News.

She said Destiny loved animals and had the most fun when catching insects.

But the brown-haired Grade 3 student had not been feeling well since Feb. 3, and by the next day, she went to a walk-in clinic in Tecumseh, where Sammut says she was told her child had a viral infection.

But when the evening of Feb. 5 came and Destiny was getting worse, her grandmother, Susan Riopelle, took her to the emergency room at Windsor Regional Hospital at 8:30 p.m.

"I told them she had a 104 [F] temperature," said Riopelle, but said it was hours before a doctor saw Destiny.

She said doctors gave Destiny intravenous fluids for dehydration, and then sent her home at 4:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Less than 28 hours later, Destiny was back at the emergency room. The girl's mother told CBC News that doctors said they'd had to intubate Destiny, but that there were complications and the little girl died.


'They Won't Tell Me Anything'

Jenny Sammut said initially she was told it was meningitis that killed Destiny.

Then a few days later, she was told it was a group A streptococcal infection.

She said Windsor Regional Hospital called the family together for a meeting on March 3.

"I thought I was going to that meeting for answers," said Sammut. "They won't tell me anything. I think I deserve, as a mother, to have answers."

The family has retained Windsor-based personal injury lawyer Greg Monforton to help get those answers, but has not yet launched a lawsuit.

"We are not alleging that Destiny received inadequate care or accusing the hospital or anyone who works there of negligence. We just want answers," said Monforton.

The hospital conducted separate internal and external audits of Destiny's death, but the family said it has yet to see those audits in full.

Monforton said he has requested those reports from the hospital, but still hasn't received all the details.


Hospital Defends Care

Windsor Regional Hospital's chief of staff, Dr. Gary Ing, said he couldn't say much publicly about the case.

"Our deepest sympathy to the family no doubt about that, but it would be improper for us to speak a diagnosis which may be inconsistent with the coroner's finding," said Ing, adding that the coroner is still awaiting the pathologist's report in order to complete the autopsy.

However, Ing defended his hospital's care.

"Based on our review and also the external consultant, the care was appropriate to the symptoms that were provided to us, and also the treatment investigation [was] also proper."

Destiny's mother says that still doesn't tell her what killed her child.

"If they made a mistake, don't do it to someone else, it's not fair," said Sammut, who also has three young sons, six-year-old Jared, two-year-old Lucas and four-month-old Tyler.

"My daughter was the happiest child anybody could ever meet, and I'm not just saying that because I'm her mother."