Response in relation to the release of the Coroner's Findings into the death of Aishwarya Aswath

February 24, 2023

The Coroner’s report following the Inquest into the death of Aishwarya Aswath at Perth Children’s Hospital in April 2021 was released today.

Our Board Chair, Dr Rosanna Capolingua has made the following response.

On behalf of the Child and Adolescent Health Service, I welcome the Coroner’s report into the death of Aishwarya Aswath and the recommendations.

I would like to acknowledge and thank the Aswath family for their incredible courage and fortitude in their continued advocacy to drive improvements to our health care services – we have listened, and we have taken action.

I would also like to acknowledge the respect and compassion the Deputy State Coroner, Ms Linton, demonstrated throughout the inquest and in the report.

We are committed to being a safe, trusted and professional leader in child and adolescent health and wellbeing, which truly partners with children and young people to best meet their needs.

We need to ensure that we continue to provide a high standard of care and compassion to each and every patient that comes through our doors, and to their families.

Beyond the five recommendations, we are looking at the detail in the report to guide us on opportunities for improvement and we will work through the recommendations together with the WA Department of Health.

I would like to thank the staff who were involved in the inquest for their unwavering commitment to our culture of continuous improvement in health care.

There have been significant changes across the health service including:

  • A restructure of our Executive team, with a dedicated Executive Director for Perth Children’s Hospital and Neonatology.
  • We have increased staffing in our emergency department including additional triage and waiting room nurses and a resuscitation team of four nurses on every ED shift.
  • There are additional leadership and education nursing support roles in the ED and also administration staff assisting the triage area to ensure nurses remain focused on patients and their families.
  • A number of structural changes have been made in the ED.
  • There is increased training and improved protocols and staffing around the management of sepsis.
  • We have already implemented the taking of observations of children presenting to our ED within 30 minutes of triage to ensure a clinical assessment occurs.

We remain steadfast in our commitment to continuous improvement in healthcare and in supporting all our staff to provide that safe, high quality care.

One thing is very, very clear, Aishwarya’s legacy is long lasting. She has indeed, taught us all a great deal.