Witnesses to testify at inquest for Blackwater toddler

Ruby Chen.
Ruby Chen. Contributed

RUBY Yan Chen was the little girl who could "light up your world".

She would dance out the front of her parents' Chinese shop in Blackwater, laughing as she rode her scooter beside her brother up and down the footpath.

Two years ago, the three-year-old toddler died while being transported to the Rockhampton Hospital, breaking hearts and forever changing lives.

Fifteen witnesses have been named in the draft list to give evidence at a two-day inquest, to be held in Rockhampton on September 16 and 17, where the coroner will get to the heart of why Ruby died, how and when air entered her bloodstream to cause the fatal air embolism, and if the medical treatment she received at Blackwater Hospital was best practice.

The inquest will also probe whether the medical treatment the toddler received when flying to the Rockhampton Hospital was best practice, and whether the operation of an infusion pump contributed to the quantity of air that entered her bloodstream.

"To this day I miss her," a close family friend of Ruby's parents, Charlie and Cindi Chen, told the CQ News.

"She was bubbly, fun, full of life and a cheeky little girl full of determination who would light up your world."

The friend said the inquest should have happened a long time ago.

"The parties involved should not have tried to cover it up," he said.

"I was one of the very few who saw the coroner's report. I feel the inquest would mean everything to the family as I saw the total emotional turmoil it brought to the family from little Ruby's death, which eventually tore the family apart."

When the toddler unexpectedly died on August 9, 2012, allegedly of influenza, her family questioned the cause.

An autopsy report revealed the cause of death as air embolism, a pathological condition caused by gas bubbles entering the vascular system during medical procedures.

"Death in this patient is due to massive air embolism," the report read.


At the time, Charlie said he believed his daughter died for no reason.

"One beautiful, innocent life has been lost over ill-quality handling and poor-quality health services," he said.

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