A feeling of a failed health-care system by the mother of a two-year-old girl who died in her sleep three days after being told by doctors her daughter only had the flu. Nine months have passed after Newmarket Ont. mother Arzo Wahab unexpectedly lost her “beautiful, smart and outgoing” daughter Sophia Farah. According to Wahab, she and Sophia got sick during Christmas with the flu. Even as Wahab recuperated, her daughter did not. Sophia had discolored eyes and developed a fever, was lethargic, and throwing up. She was taken to The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto after the fever spiked and waited for thirteen hours to see a doctor.
Wahab, together with her husband, took Sophia to a walk-in clinic in Newmarket the next morning, where a doctor indicated she required urgent medical attention. Sophia was then taken to the emergency room at Southlake Regional Health Centre.
Wahab said they saw the resident doctor, and they told her everything, including puking green, which is a sign of infection. She asked them if she could be given some antibiotics. Wahab stated that the resident doctor earlier decided to do tests, but when a supervising doctor said no, she changed her mind.
Wahab also stated that they said ‘No, she’s fine, probably what happened is she had a one viral infection and now she’s got another one’. She added that they kept telling her the child had the flu even after asking many times to do tests. She told the doctor that her eyes did not look the same, but without actually checking anything, the doctor only claimed it was a viral infection. Wahad said no blood work or tests were done. According to Medical documents from Southlake Regional Health Centre, on Jan. 3, Sophia had a fever of 38.4 degrees, her heart rate was 164, and she was lethargic.
The documents show that in less than two hours, Sophia was discharged and told to keep hydrated while taking Tylenol in the morning and at night. According to the doctor’s note, she was suffering from gastroenteritis. Besides, Wahab indicated that the supervising doctor discharged Sophia without visually seeing her. She said it was a huge red flag. The medical documents suggest that if Sophia’s fever or other systems didn’t improve, the family would return to the hospital in four days. However, Sophia died in her sleep three nights later.
Wahab said through tears, “She started making these choking noises in the middle of the night. My husband woke up and called the police. Officers did CPR on her and took her to the hospital, but they couldn’t find a heartbeat.” Sophia was pronounced dead after arriving in the hospital. Wahab said the coroner told her that her daughter died from Strep A that turned septic, a bile infection, and pneumonia though the final report into Sophia’s death has not been released. The Office of the Chief Coroner said they could not disclose any information publicly, but they have contacted the family about Sophia’s death.
Death investigation now underway
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) stated that an inquiry had been launched into the conditions involving Sophia’s death. According to CPSO, while the investigation is pending, none of the physicians involved in Sophia’s case have been suspended. A spokesperson said the CPSO offers its deepest condolences to the Farah family. Even as the case is under investigation, the college was not able to confirm additional details.
‘Her death has gone unjustified.’
Wahab stated that if doctors ran tests on Sophia in the hospital, she would still be alive, and she felt the health-care system failed her daughter. She said she asked them so many times to do tests, but the doctors kept telling them she was fine, and they believed them. Wahab said she was speaking publicly about her daughter’s death, hoping that parents will feel more confident advocating for their children at hospitals though it pains her. They have hired a lawyer and are launching legal action against Southlake Regional Health Centre.