THE major Noongar primary healthcare organisation in Perth has supported calls for the State Government to make an ex-gratia payment to the family of electric shock victim Denishar Woods.
The 11-year-old suffered a catastrophic brain injury after she was shocked with up to 230 volts when she touched a garden tap at her family’s Beldon home, which is a public housing property.
“The family was already dealing with a catastrophic situation in terms of the injuries that Denishar sustained in that horrific accident in March,” Derbarl Yerrigan Health Service chairwoman Jackie Oakley said.
“It is unacceptable that the family’s sorrow and grief is being compounded by the lack of resources available to them to provide around-the-clock care.”
Earlier this week, National Indigenous Critical Response Service coordinator Gerry Georgatos said the State Government had rejected a request for a $3.2 million advance payment on compensation.
However, Attorney General John Quigley said the State Government could not provide a partial settlement while there was potential for the family to take legal action.
The State Government provided cash in August so the family could buy a specially-modified vehicle to accommodate Denishar’s wheelchair and Mr Quigley said it would provide ongoing ex-gratia payments of up to $250,000.
While the payment would help the family buy a modified vehicle, Ms Oakley said it did not scratch the surface on support needed to give Denishar the best care.
“No aspect of her care should be compromised,” she said.
“Relying on family and friends to respond to any shortfall in her day to day care is not good enough.
“It needs to be recognised that they themselves have limited resources and are dealing with their own trauma associated with the incident.
“Denishar will require continuous care and support for the rest of her life.
“The cost associated with 24-hour carer support, suitable accommodation, day-to-day living expenses for both the family and the carers, transportation to GPs and specialist appointments such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists and medication are going to add up very quickly.
“The family needs to be adequately supported and an ex-gratia payment will go a long way to easing their burden in the immediate future.”