By JR on Tuesday, April 17, 2012
In a society as atomized and as anonymous as ours, church connections can be very important
A TODDLER who survived up to five days alone in her home after her mother died was within hours of dying herself, paramedics said yesterday.
Lucy Keevers, 2, has spent three days under the intensive care of doctors after she was found severely dehydrated at the house in Wagga Wagga, in the state's southwest, on Friday.
Her 36-year-old mother Liz, a severe epileptic, is believed to have had a seizure and died in the lounge room up to five days before Lucy was found.
Ambulance Service Inspector Eamonn Purcell said Lucy was close to death when she was rescued from the death house by a local preacher.
He said the two-year-old - with blonde hair like her mother, and wearing a pink outfit - did not make a sound as she sat in the back of the ambulance.
Insp Purcell said her eyes were open wide and she was weak, with a rapid pulse and low blood pressure. "Even when they stuck a needle in her, she didn't blink. I think she was within hours of death herself," he said.
The mother and daughter moved to the suburb of Ashmont about 18 months ago, renting a house on Tarakan Ave and attending the local church with a neighbour.
Insp Purcell said paramedics were often confronted by distressing situations and had been touched by the brave little girl.
Relatives arrived in Wagga Wagga yesterday to begin the task of clearing out the death house.
Neighbour Kim Beaumont described Lucy as a happy, quiet girl who was very much loved by her mother.
Ms Beaumont said she last saw Liz as she hung out the washing on Tuesday, April 10.
"It was just awful," she said. "The washing was still on the line and I kept telling myself I must go over and see whether Liz was OK? "You just feel so guilty, I know you shouldn't blame yourself but you do."
Ms Beaumont said Liz was an active, full-time mum. "She was on medication and being seen by doctors but no one expected this. There were never any problems at the house," Ms Beaumont said.
Church of Christ Pastor Ross Brinkman said the mother was a much-loved member of the church and the girl regularly attended playgroup there. He found the young mother and daughter after becoming concerned and breaking into the house by the front window.
"I received a phone call from one of our parishioners alerting me that she had not turned up to events," Pastor Brinkman said. "I went around to investigate and that's when we made the discovery."
Pastor Brinkman said the woman's daughter would be well cared for within the Wagga community. "The concern we have is for the welfare of the daughter. We will continue to love and care for her," he said.
A report will be prepared for the coroner.