The family of an 11-year-old girl who suffered catastrophic brain injuries after touching an electrified garden tap can only afford to use public transport to take her to hospital.
Denishar Woods was shocked by up to 230 volts of electricity in March at her public housing home in the outer suburbs of Perth.
Her health issues are ongoing and the family is waiting for an emergency relief payment to cover the costs associated with providing appropriate medical care.
Denishar experienced breathing difficulties on Thursday and her mother, Lacey Harrison, had no alternative but to take her in a wheelchair on a 30 km journey to Perth Children’s Hospital. The trip involved two different buses and a train.
“We are a proud family but we are struggling,” Ms Harrison told NITV News in a statement.
“Denishar deserves dignity, respect, all my children deserve what every child deserves. I just want for my daughter all the proper care coupled with every dignity."
NITV News understands the family was previously billed the standard 'non-emergency' ambulance call-out fee of $900 for a separate medical incident.
The children’s father Royal Woods died in July last year. Ms Harrison depends on welfare payments to look after her seven children, six of whom live at home.
Gerry Georgatos, from the National Indigenous Critical Response Service, has been lobbying the Western Australia state government to give the family an ex-gratia payment as soon as possible.
“Affording a taxi meant less food on the table for the family,” he said.
“This should not be the way. That this should be so brought me both to tears and anger.”
The family announced plans to sue the government in May.
Mr Georgatos said total compensation could be $10 million and he wants the government to give the family an advanced payment of $3 million.
“The State Government must act in right-minded ways and make an advance through an ex-gratia payment of the compensation that in a couple of years will be secured,” he said.
“But there is the now and Denishar’s widower mum cannot afford her every care. It’s heartbreaking.”
As a result of Denishar’s accident, Ms Harrison has been by her daughter’s side as her full time carer. She depends on her older daughter to look after her other children.
“I spend most of my time with Denishar because we can’t afford the specialist care, can’t afford the special needs vehicle and I am not able to spend the time I desperately want to with all my children,” she said.
A spokesperson for Acting Housing Minister Bill Johnston told NITV News they could not comment on how far off the family's ex gratia payment is as it's confidential, but did say the government does continue its support of Ms Harrison.
“I was sorry to hear that Ms Harrison needed to use public transport to get Denishar to the hospital this week. We are addressing this issue and will continue to work with Ms Harrison to ensure suitable transport is supplied to meet Denishar’s ongoing needs," the statement said.