Health service review prompted by murder of autistic daughter to begin

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A review of health services for high needs people in Nelson and Marlborough prompted by the case of Donella Knox, who was convicted of murdering her autistic daughter Ruby, will start this month.

Depression (file picture).

File picture.

Source: istock.com

Knox, 49, drugged and suffocated her daughter Ruby at their Blenheim home last year, after many years spent fighting for more medical assistance. She was sentenced in December to four years imprisonment, the judge referring to it as a once in a generation case.

Nelson Marlborough Health today confirmed an external review of its services will begin this month, and will be led by Rosemary Marks, a developmental paediatrician at Starship Children's Hospital.

In a statement, Chief Medical Officer, Dr Nick Baker said he expects the part of the review which focuses on the care and treatment Ruby received will validate health professionals' efforts to provide care to Ruby.

The review will look to identity improvements to the system the DHB uses to transition high needs people from paediatrics care to adult care, as well as identifying risks when parents and caregivers decline support or healthcare, and identifying how professionals should respond when they have concerns about possible family violence when a potential victim is over age 17, but unable to care for themselves.

It's not clear when the review will be completed.

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