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Expert backs doctor's treatment of 4-year-old who died

AN expert witness has told the coronial inquest into the death of a Sunshine Coast boy that she would have treated him exactly the same as doctors at Nambour Hospital given the information they had available at the time.

Tom Olive, 4, died from a muscle-destroying disorder called rhabdomyolysis after being admitted to the hospital's emergency department on August 25, 2010.

His parents, Andrew and Trudy Olive, claim early symptoms that pointed to the muscle-destroying condition which eventually killed their son were missed despite the fact he had presented with symptoms on previous occasions.

Professor Anne-Maree Kelly told the inquest  she would have treated Tom in the exact same way as doctors at the hospital had done given the information they had at the time.

"I would not have done anything differently on August 25 in relation to Tom's care based on the evidence available at the time," she said.

"The doctor's analysis of the patient is consistent with what I would have done as well."

The inquest has also been tasked with examining whether the Queensland Ambulance Service treated the Mooloolah boy appropriately and adequately during his transport to Nambour Hospital.

Central to the investigation was whether paramedics interpreted the ECG results correctly given the level of potassium in the boy's body.

The inquest heard early complications of rhabdomyolysis may include very high levels of potassium in the blood which can lead to an irregular heartbeat or cardiac arrest.

Professor Kelly told the inquest, via videolink from Victoria, after reviewing the evidence she believed the paramedics treated Tom appropriately.

"I see nothing of acute concern with the ECG results that were undertaken by the paramedics," she said.

"However, it is well known that ECGs are very poor at picking up potassium levels."

The inquest before state coroner John Lock continues.

Topics:  coronial inquest nambour hospital


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