Grace Wang, who was injected with a skin-cleanser instead of an epidural, has spoken out on TV for the first time about the anaesthetist’s mistake that changed her life forever.
Grace and her husband, Jason Zheng, were looking forward to becoming new parents, but the biggest moment of their lives turned to tragedy when a routine epidural procedure went horribly wrong.
An anaesthetist mistakenly injected chlorhexidine, a skin-cleansing fluid in place of a pain killing agent into Grace’s spine.
The 33-year-old mother suffered massive nerve damage, endured two brain surgeries and ended up paralysed from the waist down.
The joys of new motherhood turned into despair, as Grace discovered she couldn’t even hold her newborn, Alex. She still can’t physically embrace him.
“When all those nurses hold Alex, when they kiss and hug him, I feel really sad because I really hope I can also hold him just like the others do because our Alex is so cute,” she says.
Around one-third of all birthing women in Australia have an epidural but for Grace Wang, this routine practise turned into her worst nightmare.
Mandarin News Australia contacted the St George Hospital for an interview to discuss Grace Wang’s unique case but instead they responded with the following media statement.
“This is an extremely distressing case and the Hospital has … admitted fault.”
“The Department [of Health] has issued a Safety Notice to all Health Services advising of the need to review…practices, related to the handling and preparation of epidural medicine doses in both Obstetrics and in Operating Theatres.”
“The Hospital and the Local Health District are deeply sorry for what has happened to Grace and will continue to care for her and her family.”
Grace and her family are in ongoing legal negotiations with the hospital. A case has commenced for damages caused to Grace.
Her lawyer says that as far as they know, it’s the only case of its kind recorded anywhere i the world.
“They’re effectively in a medical limbo because the prognosis everyone wants a good prognosis everyone wants to know that things will resolve, but for Grace it’s the unknown,” the lawyer says.
Alex celebrated his first birthday on Sunday 26th June.
The family are trying to make a fresh start by moving into a larger residence provided by the hospital.
For Grace Wang’s full story, watch the repeat of Mandarin News Australia on SBS ONE at 6.35AM this Sunday.
A Facebook page has been set up to provide updates on Grace and her family.
Watch this story on YouTube: