Ruby Chen – Commentary

By Elia Petzierides

It’s safe to say we are overwhelmed with the international response to our article about The preventable death of 3-year-old Ruby Chen and we are glad the message is out there. While the topic of the article is obviously not a laughing matter, we are going to take a look – and maybe a laugh – at some of our favorite online comments. an emergency medicine and critical care blog declared our article
“The Most Fair Dinkum Ripper Beaut of the Week”.

Our joy was short-lived though, Reddit user johnnycourage took a swipe at us, then to our disappointment retracted it:
“This is a dubious article from a sketchy wordpress blog with one entry written by someone with a poor grasp of medicine. Google does link to actual news stories.”
“Edit: Went back and re-read the blog. Author says in first paragraph that s/he’s a crit care peds RN with 10 yrs paramedic exp. My oops.”

We were proud to unleash the nerd within when German website “One Step Ahead Of The Average Nerd” quoted us, though we have no idea what they said.
“In einem sehr, sehr empfehlenswerten Artikel schreibt die Krankenschwester und Paramedic Elia Petzierides die unglückliche Verkettung von Umständen die zu dem Tod von einer dreijährigen Australierin auf einem luftgebundenen Transfer zwischen zwei Spitälern geführt hat.”

Reddit user “cliffhucks” gave us a chuckle with this synopsis:

“Interesting, even with the pretentious writing style…”

Reddit user “johnnycourage” took another swipe at us then took umbrage with our terminology.
“Again, this is a poorly written blog article by someone that doesn’t seem to have a grasp on very basic medical concepts, or how medical transport works. It isn’t exactly easy to get a job on a helicopter. I had over 10 years of peds ICU and peds cardiac ICU experience before I started transporting patients. We maintain several certifications that go far beyond the basic fluid management ideas the author doesn’t seem to get.
And who calls it a “giving set”? I’m calling bullsh**.”

monkeyface496RN: “We call them giving sets in the UK- it follows it’s the same in Australia. What do you call it? IV line?”

thislittlemonkeyRN – OB/GYN 3: “Can confirm we call them giving sets in Australia.”

johnnycourageRN: “That makes sense. We just call them tubing or pump sets.”

On a serious note, this Reddit comment from a paramedic working in the same state this tragedy occurred gave us some insight, then cause for concern about the lessons learned.

“I currently work on a helicopter in QLD with QAS and we do not have an infusion pump. We can’t just take them from the hospital as it’s property of the hospital, not ours. Occassionaly If a Doctor comes along they will bring their own pumps There is room in the several different Helicopter types for infusion pumps so I query whether or not the Paramedic even had access to one. A pump isn’t neccessary for the drugs i’m giving however the safety feature of air detection would be the main benefit.
I agree terrible death. I would never respike a bag but I have never explicitly been told in any formal training or education that this is not to be done. I’m glad this article has been put out, it may prevent it happening again, somewhere.”

And finally, on the topic of blame, we are going to give blog “” the last word on the topic of the blame game.

“This event will cause several of these souls to question themselves and their actions or lack of action. What they saw. How they did it. How she died.

The fact of the matter is tragedies happen every day. As medical professionals we work very hard to save patients. Some days we do. Some days we don’t.

My heart goes out to each of these people. The ‘medics, the nurses, the family not one of these people will ever be the same.

Beware of the blame game also. Everyone wants to blame ONE PERSON for a tragedy of the magnitude. Everyone lost. Everyone is supposed to look around themselves and double and triple check the patient and all their accouterments.”

Wise words indeed.

3 thoughts on “Ruby Chen – Commentary

  1. Thank You. There were so many lessons to take away from this. It wouldn’t matter where my feet had been, if this had been my call, I would carry her death with me. I have several I carry anyway, and nothing I did would have made a difference.


  2. Pingback: Ruby |

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