Whanganui Hospital baby death: Daycare tried to contact mother

  • Breaking
  • 21/01/2015

By 3 News online staff

The chief executive of Whanganui Hospital says she is doing "everything she can" to support a staff member whose infant died in a parked car.

The 16-month-old boy's family is said to be absolutely devastated after he was found dead at Whanganui Hospital on Friday. It is understood his mother is a senior staff member at the hospital and mistakenly forgot her son was in the car.

She believed she had dropped her son off at Noah's Ark Early Learning Centre, and it was only later in the day she noticed he was still in the car, the New Zealand Herald reports.

There are also reports the daycare facility had been trying to get in contact with the mother throughout the day to no avail.

Temperatures reached 26degC in Whanganui on Friday, but it could have been near double that inside a car parked in the sun.

Whanganui District Health Board chairwoman Dot McKinnon told the New Zealand Herald the incident was heartbreaking.

"We've got to look after the family and let them grieve in their time, and of course they've been given as much of the wrap-around services that you can give from their friends and colleagues.

"Because there's a police and coroner's investigation, we really just keep out until there are facts that we can understand."

She says an internal investigation into the death and the hospital's response is likely.

"The chief executive [Julie Patterson] has been very much involved from the moment that she found out, which was quite early," said Ms McKinnon.

"We're just doing the best we possibly can, and I feel comfortable that we've done all we can."

A post-mortem examination has been completed, but police are awaiting further test results before releasing a likely cause of death.

Yesterday Detective Inspector Dave Kirby said it was too early to say what the outcome of the investigation could be.

"Any death of a child is always tragic," he said.

Officers are also speaking with the toddler's family and hospital staff. Police are not looking for anybody else in connection with the death. They are not naming the baby at this stage.

Meanwhile, a psychology expert says it is not uncommon to forget details or people we aren't attending to.

University of Auckland Associate Professor Dr Trecia Wouldes says it's not uncommon to overlook details not at the forefront of your mind.

"You may be driving home from work and you're thinking about your day and you get home and you realise, you don't even remember which route you took home.

"It's like an altered state of consciousness; you're not attending to those things and so you don't remember them."

3 News

source: newshub archive