A Girl From New Zealand Died From Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, and Her Family Wants Answers

According to a story from the Sydney Morning Herald, Hayley Wyatt appeared to be calling for her mother in her final moments, but there was nothing anyone in her family could do to save her. Charlotte, Hayley’s mother, promptly called an ambulance, but she was unresponsive by the time EMT’s arrived. Hayley had died due to complications related to complex regional pain syndrome. The family believes that her death might have been prevented if the medical team had known more about the disease.

About Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), which is also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy, is a disorder that affects a portion of the body, usually a limb. The cause of the disorder is not fully understood. It often begins after a stroke, surgery, injury, or heart attack. Prior injury to the peripheral nerves, smoking, and hemiplegia appear to increase risk. Symptoms of complex regional pain syndrome include damage to the bones and skin, extreme, agonizing pain, swelling, and a limited range of motion. Treatment includes therapy, medications such as ketamine and bisphosphonate, and surgery. It is important to begin treatment early to avoid permanent harm to the affected limb, such as thinning of bones and muscle atrophy. It can also spread without treatment. To learn more about complex regional pain syndrome, click here.

Hayley’s Story

Hayley had been dealing with the disorder for the final four years of her life. Living in fear of severe pain can take a major toll on patients, and mental health problems such as depression and anxiety can easily appear. For Hayley, the triggering incident for her complex regional pain syndrome was a simple slip caused by a puddle of water that injured her arm. It took almost a year for her to receive a diagnosis.

Poor Treatment Can be a Death Sentence

Hayley was also subject to poor treatment and neglect. Her condition continued to worsen as the symptoms spread from her arm to one of her legs. Painful open wounds appeared and got infected. She began to fear seeking treatment because of the abuse that she would be subjected to. The Wyatts have since filed a complaint with the Bay of Plenty District Health Board, citing 35 instances of neglect from caregivers with the NZ Accident Compensation Corporation.

Ultimately, delays in receiving essential medication and supplies, such as wound dressings, contributed to Hayley’s preventable death.


Learn more about CRPS! Check out our partner, Burning Nights!

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