Family wants answers after young mum dies waiting nine hours for surgery at Shellharbour Hospital

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Mum-of-two who went to hospital with a sore back died a day later after she was forced to wait nine hours for emergency surgery as her family fights for answers

  • Daniel Davey, 33, said his wife Kya waited nine hours for emergency surgery 
  • The couple had been together for 10 years and married for less than one year 
  • Ms Davey developed a sore back after doing exercises on her floor 
  • She went to Shellharbour Hospital were doctors found she had tear in her aorta 
  • She tragically died after waiting nine hours to go to another hospital for surgery  
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A young mother-of-two with a sore back died after waiting nine hours for emergency surgery as her shattered family fight for answers from the hospital. 

Kya Davey, 33, was doing exercises on the floor of her home when she hurt her back and went to Shellharbour Hospital, two hours south of Sydney, for treatment just before 2pm in January. 

Within two hours, doctors discovered she had a tear in her aorta, a life-threatening condition, and acknowledged she would need to go to Wollongong Hospital, just 28 minutes away, for the operation.

But her husband Daniel Davey, 33, and her mother Maria Markulrc said it was another seven hours before Kya got that surgery and the operation was not completed until 11 hours after she had first presented at Shellharbour Hospital. 

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She tragically died the next day, with Mr Davey saying the amount of time she waited for surgery denied her a fighting chance. 

Daniel Davey, 33, and his mother-in-law Maria Markulrc (pictured) are demanding answers after Kya Davey waited nine hours for emergency surgery

Daniel Davey, 33, and his mother-in-law Maria Markulrc (pictured) are demanding answers after Kya Davey waited nine hours for emergency surgery 

‘She would have tried so hard for the boys, but I don’t feel like they (her doctors) tried for her,’ Mr Davey told A Current Affair. 

Five months on, he is demanding answers from the hospital and has engaged Shine Lawyers. 

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‘At 3.18pm they found that tear and they knew they couldn’t fix it in that hospital, so why was she still there?’ he said.

Ms Markulrc said her daughter had simply been ‘left too long’ by overwhelmed  hospital staff as her organs shut down. 

‘I miss her so much,’ she said. 

The family lodged a formal complaint with Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District and has been granted access to the medical notes surrounding the case. 

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Beloved wife and mother Ms Davey (pictured) had a tear in her aorta which required urgent surgery

Beloved wife and mother Ms Davey (pictured) had a tear in her aorta which required urgent surgery 

Among apologies in the notes, the family was told five pages detailing the events of that afternoon and evening were absent and had to be completed by a doctor from memory 14 weeks later. 

Mr Davey said the situation was ‘chaos’ and he had been putting on a brave face for the couple’s sons Caleb and Jackson, both under 10. 

Brielle Straney from Shine Lawyers said recording case notes 14 weeks after treating a patient could not be considered normal procedure and that the Covid pandemic, two years on, was no longer a valid excuse. 

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Just last year, NSW Health paid another family from the Illawarra an undisclosed amount of compensation due to an issue at the same Hospital.

The Hintze family was given the money in an out-of-court settlement after their father died at Shellharbour Hospital. 

The NSW Supreme Court heard Paul Hintz required urgent bowel surgery which, if performed earlier, would have prevented his death from septic shock. 

Nearby Wollongong Hospital was previously the subject of an investigation in 2017.

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In that case three-year-old Hamza Said was rushed to the hospital in 2016 with a fever and vomiting but was sent home with no blood tests and instructions to be given Panadol. 

Days later he was taken back after his condition did not improve and when finally seen by a doctor and given blood tests, it was revealed he had sepsis and was placed on life support. 

He was later transported to Randwick Children’s Hospital where he luckily survived. 

In 2019 Illawarra Shoalhaven Health District paid the most compensation for medical errors out of any region in NSW (pictured: Shellharbour Hospital)

In 2019 Illawarra Shoalhaven Health District paid the most compensation for medical errors out of any region in NSW (pictured: Shellharbour Hospital) 

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In 2019 Illawarra Shoalhaven Health District, the department overseeing both hospitals, paid $19.95million in taxpayer money to settle compensation claims.

A freedom of information investigation by The Daily Telegraph revealed this was the most money paid by any health district in NSW with dozens of compensation claims filed.

Daily Mail Australia has contacted NSW Health and Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District for comment. 

STATEMENT FROM ILLAWARRA SHOALHAVEN LOCAL HEALTH DISTRICT

On behalf of the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, I extend our deepest sympathy to the family of Kya Davey for the loss of their beloved Kya.

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Senior medical specialists and the health district’s governance and management teams have met with the family directly to discuss their concerns, and offer their sincere condolences. 

The district has also apologised to the family for a delayed response to a complaint they made to the hospital. ISLHD has undertaken a thorough investigation into Kya’s presentation, and the concerns raised about her treatment. 

The findings have been communicated directly to her family. The family has also been advised that they can request an independent review via the Health Care Complaints Commission.

 – Executive Director of Medical Services & Clinical Governance, Dr Peter Jansen

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