“It won’t survive” were the simple, yet heartbreaking words from the grandfather who expected the life support to his one-month-old grandson would be turned off this weekend.
The prematurely-born baby suffered critical head injuries, allegedly by his 15-year-old father at Bunbury Regional Hospital on Saturday night.
The father, a ward of the state who was abandoned by his own mother three years ago and reported to have atroubled past, has been charged with aggravated bodily harm.
The mother’s family spoke out how they are confused as to how the tragedy was able to unfold.
“We just want to know what happened and how it happened,” the newborn’s maternal grandfather told Radio 6PR.
“I want to know how come that boy was allowed back in.
“He’s supposed to be under care and wasn’t supposed to be at the hospital – that’s what we’re trying to understand.
“Especially at night like that, where were the nurses?”
The grandfather claimed the teenage boy did not have access to the child on Friday and wanted to know what changed between then and Saturday night, when the alleged assault occurred.
“He shouldn’t have been allowed in there,” he said.
His daughter, the mother of the child, was yet to come to terms with the injuries inflicted on her son, he said.
“She’s completely in shock.
“She keeps on asking how it happened, why it happened, all that.
“There’s nothing much I can do, nothing much I can say.
“No one should have let that kid in there – he’s only a kid.”
Department of Child Protection director general Terry Murphy told Radio 6PR that the father’s visitation with his son was restricted, but not banned altogether.
“All the advice that I’ve received from the hospital, from our staff who meet with families through these situations, was that the father’s access to the child was never questioned,” Mr Murphy said.
“At one point, after a meeting between hospital staff and the family, it was restricted to some degree, in so far as it was only to occur between visiting hours and not during the lunch break, and [at] a time at which there would be adequate staffing on the ward and adequate support for what are very young parents.”
But he said hospital staff had not predicted the father would pose a danger to the newborn.
“I, on the basis of everything I’ve seen from the hospital, from our staff, from other government agencies, am of the belief this was not a predictable event,” Mr Murphy said.
“It is a tragedy – there’s no question that this boy had a troubled life, there’s no question that this relationship between these teenage parents had difficulties, but none of those facts would predict such a tragedy as has occurred.”
As far as the department’s investigation had learned, the family had not requested the boy’s access to the child be restricted, Mr Murphy said.
It was reported on Tuesday thatthe father regularly visited and helped feed the babyfrom the day he was born.
Mr Murphy said the department would continue to supply support to the mother where possible.
“We’ve had a relationship with mum since her relationship with father and her pregnancy came to our attention late last year,” he said.
“That relationship continues – this mum needs tremendous amount of support.
“That will come mostly from family, but we will provide whatever support we can to her and her family.”
All future medical decisions concerning the baby will be made by Mr Murphy, following thebaby being taken into the care of the Department of Child Protection.
The baby has been transferred to Princess Margaret Hospital where staff are continually reviewing his health.
Advice given to the family by a PMH neurosurgeon was that they were still waiting for swelling to go down, the grandfather said.
“It’s just a waiting game,” he said.
“I’m going up there now just to hold him or kiss him and show my support.”
All decisions relating to a 28-day-old baby fighting for life after being allegedly bashed by his teenaged father will now be made by Department for Child Protection (DCP) and Family Support chief Terry Murphy.