Aaron Bunch Journalist with Australian Associated Press | Collection of published work | + 61 484 008 119 | abunch@aap.com.au

Aaron Bunch
Toddler’s injuries worst a doctor had seen

In the months before Queensland toddler Mason Jet Lee died, he was seriously sick and suffering the worst injuries his veteran doctor had ever seen.

March 17, 2020

Toddler Mason Jet Lee suffered the worst injuries a veteran Queensland doctor had ever seen in the months before he died.

The pediatrician, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, says the 21-month-old had a severe skin condition, a fractured leg, an anal tear, and a bacterial infection causing his right leg to swell to twice its normal size.

“He was a very ill little boy,” the Caboolture doctor with over 40 years’ experience told the Brisbane Coroners Court.

He expressed his serious concerns about Mason’s condition to child safety officers following an appointment in February.

But Mason was allowed to return to the home where he later died after being hit in the abdomen by his mother’s boyfriend, William O’Sullivan, in June 2016.

“This was a deep loss of the whole of the skin. There were five separate areas, some of them quite big,” he said referring to the skin condition on Mason’s bottom.

“I had never seen anything quite so severe.”

He said the deep wounds were likely caused by poor hygiene and care, such as infrequent nappy changes.

The doctor also observed a tear to Mason’s anus during an appointment in April, which he suspected may have been caused by abuse.

When Mason died he had 45 bruises to his body and four anal tears.

The doctor said such severe trauma is likely to have been caused by something large passing from the child’s anus following a bowel movement or “insertion of some object from other direction”.

Another Caboolture pediatrician, who also cannot be named, said O’Sullivan’s involvement with Mason concerned her. She was also worried Mason’s anal injuries may have been caused by sexual abuse.

Despite both doctors raising their concerns with child safety officers and the matter being escalated by a Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect team in March, Mason’s case wasn’t allocated to an officer before he died.

Lee and O’Sullivan pleaded guilty to his manslaughter, with both failing to get Mason medical help as he died.

The inquest continues on Tuesday.

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