Tragic death of brave Indianna
BRAVE little Indianna Allen died in the arms of her family on Saturday at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Brisbane.
The gorgeous 21-month-old, who became the national face of the organ donor movement in recent months, succumbed to septicaemia on Saturday after a week-long battle with the infection – her body already in the critical stage of the liver disorder biliary atresia.
Indy’s mum Angela said yesterday the disarming toddler suffered an infection in her “central line”, an intravenous tube which ran into her jugular vein, about a week-and-a-half ago.
“The infection was blocking the line and when they flushed it (Saturday, July 10), it sent a septic shower into her bloodstream,” Angela said.
“Within eight hours she was up at the hospital, she was in a bad way,” dad Peter said.
But the Allens, who were living in the Grafton area before Indy got sick, don’t blame anyone for their daughter’s death, knowing that without a donor liver, it was a case of “when” she would die, not “if”.
“They (medical staff) thought it was a blood clot blocking the line, not an infection, they were just doing as they always do – so it was no-one’s fault by any means,” Angela said.
Over the next couple of days, the infection put extra pressure on Indy’s already damaged liver and she was placed on the critical list for organ donation, meaning she needed a liver within days.
“Her kidneys shut down and she got ’em going again,” said her proud mum yesterday.
“All week things would happen to Indy and she kept fighting back against all odds – that was her way all the time ... she had the most amazing fighting spirit.”
Peter, who was by Indy’s side doing his “night shift”, rang his wife at 1am on Saturday to tell her Indianna had brain damage from the fluid in her brain cavity – her body was shutting down.
The family then had to make the painstaking decision whether to turn off Indy’s life support – a decision steeped in emotional complexity.
“If it had have been us in our normal state now, our heart would have stopped – it was just the machines keeping her alive,” Angela explained.
“We were not going to let Indy suffer ... I mean she has fought so hard, I was not going to put her through any more for my own self or for anyone else.”
But Indianna had already survived far longer than the experts had predicted. At the start of the year, doctors expected Indy to live only until May.
Peter and Angela recalled yesterday how medical staff had admired Indy’s dogged determination to smile through the pain and fight on. Indy’s plight, and some of the financial woes affecting the family due to her illness, moved the Clarence Valley community into action and charity organisations, businesses and individuals set about raising funds to at least ease their money worries.
Clearly touched by the support the family received, Peter and Angela asked for people to use Indianna’s story as a symbol of strength.
“We want to thank everybody, just thank ’em so much,” Peter said.
Indy’s sister Macayla, 8, and brother, Anthony, 17, were at their sister’s side when she passed away.
An open funeral for Grafton-born Indianna will be held at the Riverside Church, South Grafton, on Friday at 10am followed by a private wake with extended family in the Dorrigo area.