3 years ago, a 10 year old boy from Newcastle died from complications related to morbid obesity. At only 7 years old, he weighed 50kg (110lbs) and had a body mass index double of what it should have been. A NSW coroner is now investigating his parents for possible child abuse/neglect and the role they played in their son’s decline and eventual demise.
As far back as 2007, the boy had been in and out of hospital with obesity related problems, and his parents had been provided with a weight management plan. Yet he put on an additional 6 kg shortly after leaving John Hunter hospital.
He had been the subject of several reports to DoCS and other authorities because of his parents’ drug use and his obesity-related health issues for which his parents refused to seek medical help. The boy suffered from sleep apnoea (like snoring, but the boy stopped breathing for short periods of time) and appointments were made for him to have his tonsils and adenoids removed, and various other weight management specialists. The inquest heard that many of the appointments were missed and that the boy never got the help he needed.
His parents also were slack on his school attendance. In his short education, the boy had missed 103 days of the 2010 school year. The parents blamed his sleep apnoea (yeah cos it’s totally the kid’s fault), but when they were threatened with criminal action, they promised to improve his attendance rate.
The exact circumstances surrounding the boy’s death are unclear, but he was found slumped over on a lounge before he stopped breathing while en route to the hospital. After 12 minutes without oxygen, he had suffered a massive brain injury and was put on life support, where he died a few days later.
Now, I know this may be a touchy subject for the American audience. But here goes…letting your child get so fat that they have trouble breathing IS child abuse! The kid wasn’t out buying the wrong sort of foods, this was 100% on the parents! The parents were shoveling garbage into their kid, enabling the bad habits and then trying to cover it up by keeping him away from doctors and school. Just like how starving a child can lead to malnutrition and other health issues, feeding a kid McDonald’s and KFC everyday will also cause major health issues.
This boy’s death was 1000% preventable.
The inquest continues.