A Perth family is demanding answers after their eight-year-old was discharged from hospital with a broken neck.

Ava Amato was sent home with Panadol and Nurofen on Saturday, after she was taken to Joondalup Hospital following a quad bike crash, reports 7 news.

Ava was told by staff at the hospital her neck pain was just muscle soreness.

Two days layer, an MRI confirmed the schoolgirl had four fractured vertebrae and a severed ligament.

“I was angry, I was sad,” Ava’s mother Nicole Amato said.

“They’re doctors, I’m just a mum.”

After being rushed to Joondalup, Ava had an X-ray but was discharged because she had no loss of consciousness, no tenderness during tests and completed a normal neurological examination.

But by Monday, a radiologist reviewed Ava’s X-ray and found the mistake.

“If she had’ve had any more trauma to her neck, she could have potentially ended up in a wheelchair,” Mrs Amato said.

Joondalup Hospital has written a letter to the Amato’s, offering its sincere apologies for the distressing experience and ordered a review.

A hospital spokesperson told 7 News, Ava’s injuries were a “complex and unusual case”.

“Doctors were extremely surprised and distressed when the fractures were later diagnosed,” the hospital said.

Ava has since undergone emergency surgery at Princess Margaret Hospital and will wear a neck brace for three months.

“If someone comes in with spinal damage, it needs to be assessed straight away, not two days later,” Mrs Amato said.

Oh my gosh. This poor family. That’s horrific!

Share your comments below.

Image via 7 news

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  • maybe they didn’t have the facilities there? an x-ray would have been first port of call though! lucky kiddo!


  • This was an error which should never have happened. Thank goodness they reviewed her x-rays and were able to do something to correct this. Hope all goes well for Ava and she makes a complete recovery


  • This is just so awful and shocking. Poor Ava and family to have to go through that.


  • After a bad fall from a high wall I was transported by ambiulance to RPH (without a neck brace). Had an x-ray of my head and after stitches in my badly cut forehead was given painkillers and sent home. For 5 days I carried on as normal i.e. Driving/working around home and had even considered a game of golf at one stage. I was still in a lot of pain so went to the new hospital in Midland and after a quick diagnosis was immobilised and given an x-ray on my neck and found my neck had mutipal fractors to my C2 and C6 joints. LIke the young girl I also had to wear a neck brace for 3 months and also like her consider myself very lucky not to have done some very serious damage. Unlike the young lass I have not received anything from RPH except that they are looking into the incident that happened early in November.


  • Medical malpractice in it’s finest! When someone comes in after an accident like this and has any pain in the neck or back this should never just be dismissed- every precaution should be taken!

    • I agree …
      Wishing young Ava all the very best.


  • Oh my God. Thankfully the injury didn’t develop into something more permanent as a result of the delay and movement the girl will have experienced. Not good enough by the hospital. Seriously? I would expect observation overnight at least for such an injury. Thank God it’s been sorted.


  • Glad it was discovered in the end and she didn’t end up in a wheelchair !
    Hope Ava recovers well and totally !!


  • Such a shock to the family – at least Ava is OK now.


  • You can have normal neurolgical test results even after a seizure. I know that from personal experience. If she had neck pain after an accident she had neck trauma. If you fall over in an accident and get obvious bruising or cut skin on your head ( in my case forehead) it is still classed as head trauma. If there was xrays taken at Joondalup Hospital they should have been checked properly before they even thought about discharge. She should have been transferred to St. Margaret Hospital straight away. How much damage did Ava unknowingly do when moving around even if she stayed in bed most of the time? I know a lady who cracked a rib. The crack showed on the Xray but the radiologist didn’t spot it. A relative of theirs who does nursing and radiology spotted it.


  • Cannnot believe she was sent home,so very wrong.Wishing the young girl all the best for the future.


  • This is very scary and even worse then my story.
    When my eldest daughter was in Primary school she was hit in the back of the head full force by a boys feet as he crashed into her while he was flying along on the school flying fox. My daughter screamed with pain and the teacher that was on duty and saw it happen told her to stop yelling and making such a fuss. She had a killer headache but made it through the rest of the afternoon and caught the bus home from school. When she arrived home she told me what had happened and she said her head really hurt, then she started vomiting and suffering with a nose bleed. Long story short it turned out she had fractured her skull. It was not a good start to the school holidays but once they were over I was up to the school on day one. The teacher actually lied to my face and said she came over to check she was alright and she was sorry but she thought she was just over reacting. It wasnt until we left the school that my daughter told me the teacher had lied and she had not come over to her at all. Either way …you can not see broken bones from the outside. Any head, neck or back injuries MUST be treated as serious.


  • wow how scary to think a simple bump and she could be in a wheel chair. I know DRs are strained but they really need to take the time with their patients.
    I hope Ava recovers well.


  • That is so negligent of the hospital, clearly they didn’t do their usual checks after her accident! I have a few friends in that area and now I am worried if they ever have to go to hossie!


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