No inquest into death of 14-year-old girl in care

A 14-year-old girl with special needs died after choking on McDonalds Photo: Louie DouvisThe deputy state coroner has released his findings into the death of a 14-year-old girl who spent the majority of her life in state care.

The girl, identified as C in court documents, was described as the “queen bee” within her care home and as someone who loved cheerleading and dancing, had been placed in care when she was born due to her mother’s inability to care for her.

C was born with a series of special needs including brain damage, failure to thrive, developmental delay, lung disease and congenital cataracts and needed to be fed by a gastrostomy button.

She lived in foster care for a number of years before the death of one carer led to the second carer being unable to cope with her high needs.

C began living in state-supported care facilities, where she remained the subject of a child protection order.

On June 27 last year C was on an outing with carers, who had purchased some McDonalds.

The carers placed the McDonalds in the foot well in the front seat of the vehicle, while C was in the back.

C was known to take food not belonging to her and struggle with eating, so advice was provided to carers to ensure she didn’t eat too quickly.

Somehow, C was able to reach through to the front of the vehicle from her seat in the back and take some of the McDonalds, which she ate and began choking on.

Carers observed her turning red, then blue, before she passed out and resuscitation attempts were made.

Paramedics arrived and were able to resuscitate C before she was taken to Lady Cilento Childrens Hospital, where she was put on life support.

Her family and her adult guardian later decided to turn off her life support.

The deputy state coroner found the frequency of visits from child safety officers while C was in care did not meet departmental requirements however he found the carers took all reasonable steps to prevent the incident from happening in the first place and in providing medical assistance and calling triple zero when she began choking.

He found the circumstances of C’s death did not warrant an inquest.

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