— Health

Grieving parents of Aiswarya Aswath start hunger strike outside the hospital where she died

The parents of a young Perth girl who died while waiting for medical treatment have launched a hunger strike outside the hospital. Seven-year-old Aiswarya Aswath died at Perth Children’s Hospital on 3 April after she was made to wait two hours to see a doctor. Her parents began a protest outside the hospital’s emergency department at midnight on Friday, four weeks after they brought their daughter to the building seeking medical treatment. Aswath and Praseetha Sasidharan have vowed to remain on strike outside the emergency department until the West Australian government commits to establishing a thorough, independent review of the incident. “We’ve been let down and losing hope in the system. We are still waiting for the initial report from the hospital,” Aswath said on Saturday.

The WA Child and Adolescent Health Services (CAHS) manages the hospital and has launched its review of the incident to determine what happened.


The review and report were initially expected to be completed in four weeks, led by a team of medical professionals from within the Child and Adolescent Health Service.

But four weeks after Aiswarya’s death, the family still has not been provided a report or a timeline of when to expect it. They also still do not know the cause of their daughter’s death.

“We were apprehensive. Her condition was deteriorating quickly. That’s why we tried to raise their concern, and they didn’t respond the way we thought staff in an emergency department normally would,” Praseetha said.

The parents brought their daughter to the hospital after she developed a fever.

A nurse initially saw the girl and allocated a triage score of four, indicating a low-priority patient.

Her parents remained in the waiting room as Aiswarya’s condition rapidly deteriorated. They say they begged hospital staff several times to see a doctor.

They waited more than two hours before a doctor finally saw Aishwarya, but she was barely conscious. She reportedly died around 15 minutes later.

“I was very concerned because her hands were cold and also her eyes were not normal. I was worried. I approached many stuff there, but they didn’t think it was an emergency. They just said, ‘The doctor will come and have a look’,” Aswath said.

He and his wife started the hunger strike because “we do not want anyone else to face such a tragedy”.

“Aishwarya is not the first child to face this, but we want her to be the last one,” he said.

WA Health Minister Roger Cook has been contacted for comment.

Perth Children’s Hospital chief Aresh Anwar spoke with Aswath and Praseetha on Saturday morning, and they are expected to meet with more hospital representatives later in the day.

In a statement to SBS News, Dr. Anwar, also CEO of the Child and Adolescent Health Service, said support is being provided to the family. “Our sympathies and thoughts remain with Aishwarya’s family and friends. We continue to offer any help we can to the family.

He said an independent review would be completed within 28 days.

“Pivotal to the root cause analysis is a full review of all the evidence. This has been, and will continue to be, the critical factor in determining the timeframe for the report.”

Additional reporting by SBS Malayalam.

Molly Aronson

I'm an award-winning blogger who enjoys all things creative but is especially passionate about lifestyle design. I blog over at mehlogy.com I love that I get to share my passion for healthy living, fashion, fitness, and travel with readers from all over the world.

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