Sarina bub Zoe Pitcher.
Sarina bub Zoe Pitcher. Contributed

Sarina baby's tragic death: Parents desperate for answers

'I DON'T know what I am supposed to do. I haven't organised a funeral for my own daughter before.'

The harrowing statement hangs in the air as tears stream down the faces of first-time parents Madison Simpson and Jack Pitcher.

At just 20 and 21 years old, the young Sarina couple face the devastating task of planning the funeral of their six month old daughter Zoe.

They hold hands and choke back sobs as they recount the six precious months they shared with their beautiful baby girl, and her heart-wrenching death last month.

"She was born 10 weeks early and was only 795g. She was flown straight to Townsville and two days later we found out she had a coarctation of the aorta so had to go for heart surgery," Jack said.

"After that, she was in and out of the intensive care unit for six months. We were in Lady Cilento Hospital in Brisbane but were transferred back to Mackay Hospital for a few weeks."


TRAGIC LOSS: Sarina bub Zoe Pitcher was always smiling. She passed away last month.
TRAGIC LOSS: Sarina bub Zoe Pitcher was always smiling. She passed away last month. Contributed

But despite the adversity she faced, Jack said Zoe was a bubbly, happy baby.

"She was always smiling and she was very cheeky... she had beautiful eyes," he said.


After spending essentially the first six months of her life in hospital, Jack and Madi were told they could finally take their daughter home on Monday, October 9.


Madi Simpson holding her daughter Zoe Pitcher.
Madi Simpson holding her daughter Zoe Pitcher. Contributed

Finally able to enjoy simple family activities like going for a walk to the corner store or playing at home together, Maddi said Zoe was constantly smiling.

"The first time we were able to take her for a walk, she was just smiling the entire time," she said.

"The first day we had her at home, she just loved it. She loved not being poked and woken up to get needles."


Jack Pitcher holding daughter Zoe Pitcher.
Jack Pitcher holding daughter Zoe Pitcher. Contributed

But late on Wednesday, October 11, the young family's world was turned upside down.

"She just stopped breathing; she just wasn't responding. I picked her up and just knew I had to call 000. It was like she was paralysed, she was looking up at me and was blue in the face, she wasn't moving. I tried to get her attention but she just kept drifting away," Jack said.

"We called an ambulance at 9pm and she fought in hospital until 3am on Thursday...she died in front of us. She just went blue."

A Queensland Health spokesperson said Zoe's cause of death was being investigated by the Queensland Coroner.

"Any death is a tragedy and our deepest condolences go out to the family. We have reached out to the family to offer support during this difficult time," the spokesperson said.

"We are unable to comment on the specifics of this or any other case due to patient confidentiality. This case is currently before the State Coroner.

"Queensland has in place a robust system of reviewing any unexpected deaths in our hospitals. The focus of a review is to find out what happened during the patient's care and share the information with the family during an open disclosure process. This helps us continuously improve how we deliver healthcare."

Faced with the devastation of losing their daughter, Madi and Jack are questioning why they were discharged from hospital and are seeking legal advice.

On top of the raw grief of losing their daughter, the pair have been quoted $10,000 for her funeral and are on the brink of eviction from their Sarina home.

"We may be getting evicted because we have struggled to pay our rent. We have had to live and travel between our home and Brisbane hospitals for the last six months and just have nothing left," Jack said.

To try and cover the costs of Zoe's funeral, Jack and Madi have started a GoFundMe page.

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