Nurses lifesaving assessment of local child

NURING HERO: Liz Morris-Elliott alongside Morgan Wallis, Hunter Wallis and a now healthy Scarlett Wallis at the CaFHS centre in Port Pirie. CaFHS provides free services and health checks to families with children aged 0-5 years.
NURING HERO: Liz Morris-Elliott alongside Morgan Wallis, Hunter Wallis and a now healthy Scarlett Wallis at the CaFHS centre in Port Pirie. CaFHS provides free services and health checks to families with children aged 0-5 years.

Nurse Liz Morris-Elliott saved a child's life when, during a routine check, she was dissatisfied with the newborn baby's health.

She was visiting local mum Morgan Wallis and her daughter Scarlett for her one to four week health check as part of the Child and Family Health Service (CaFHS).

Ms Morris-Elliott referred Scarlett to her GP, not satisfied with her progress.

"She was a little bit low in weight, and when they came back she had lost weight, so we were a little bit concerned," she said.

The GP diagnosed Scarlett with a significant heart anomaly which required urgent surgery interstate in Melbourne.

The lifesaving surgery was a success, but Scarlett still needed support for ongoing problems with motor development, feeding and vocal cord palsy.

Ms Morris-Elliott was able to support the her throughout the following years, being a bedrock for the family.

"Once Scarlett came back home then I continued to monitor Scarlett's growth and development, and also support Morgan," said Ms Morris-Elliott.

"We continued the journey. It was a really exciting time when we could see her actually growing and her development, she started to hit the milestones."

Five years later and Scarlett is five and thriving, enjoying everything life has to offer without any setbacks.

"She has excelled, when I was doing her pre-school health check I was amazed at just how advanced she was by then," said Ms Morris-Elliott.

Scarlett's mum Morgan Wallis believes Ms Morris-Elliott absolutely saved her child's life.

"I firmly believe without a doubt that if it was not for Liz we wouldn't have Scarlett," she said.

"Without her attention to detail, and the kindness and love that she has for this role, and children in general, but especially for our family Scarlett would not be here."

"Even through Melbourne and coming back it was that reassurance from her that we needed. Everything is fine, she is growing, she is developing.

"So it was not just about her physical development it was also about my mental health."

But their relationship didn't stop after Scarlett turned five. Her younger brother Hunter came along, who at 14 months old has also been supported by CaFHS and Ms Morris-Elliott.

"It was delightful to keep that connection going. But with Hunter, Morgan found it was a challenge because she hadn't had a well baby," said Ms Morris-Elliott.

"It was a challenge for her to know what was normal, but we were able to support her. She was particularly anxious at that time which was understandable."

Ms Morris-Elliott is thrilled she was able to help the Wallis family.

"It makes the job all completely worthwhile. When you have that positive feedback I think that's why I love this job, that's why I keep coming to work. And I do I really really love this job," she said.

CaFHS provides free services to families with children aged 0-5 years including health checks, information on child health and development, and parenting support for matters such as feeding, sleeping and settling issues.

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