Little Girl Left Fighting for her Life in ICU after Northern Territory House Makes Her Sick (mould exposure)

For two years eight-year-old Sienna Santiago and her family were exposed to very high levels of mould exposure. The mould was evident in the furniture and on the walls in their police housing home in the Northern Territory.

Sienna’s father, former NT police officer, Stephen Thomson told the media that he repeatedly reported the mould exposure to police management but nothing was done.

The family lived in the house, located in Pirlangimpi on the Tiwi Island, for two years, while Stephen was serving on the island.

The house was supplied by the police force as part of the contract but it was not in suitable living conditions. For two years the family requested something be done about the mould exposure, as did the remote sergeant on the island.

mould poisoning
Source: 9News

It wasn’t until Sienna was hospitalised that the police conducted a report and found “very high levels of mould exposure” throughout the house.

However, by then it was too late for Sienna, who spent 11 days in ICU, five weeks at Royal Darwin Hospital and months in rehab.

Reports suggest that she came down with a serious throat infection due to the repeated mould exposure.

Those disabilities are possibly going to be life-long,” Thompson told 9News over Zoom.

The house is now restricted and people who enter should be wearing PPE. Police officer turned politician Mark Turner, said this isn’t the first time something like this has happened of mould exposure.

The more this unravels, it wasn’t just Steven and his family, it went on before as well,” the Member for Blain told 9News.

“[Makes me] sick to my stomach and it’s more as a father, your job is to protect your children,” he said.

Sienna has not received any compensation from the NT Police and her dad states that they have yet to admit they have done anything wrong.

They’ve never admitted they failed us by ignoring our calls for help,” Thompson said.

In a statement, Worksafe said it was investigating after new information came to light alleging the issue of mould was reported to NT Police before the child was admitted to the hospital.


Mould exposure in bath toys and lunchboxes a concern

Sienna isn’t the first child to suffer from a serious mould-related illness. In 2020 we shared a story of a little boy who was squirted in the eye with the bath water. No big deal, right?

bath toy danger

Except the bath water came out of a mouldy bath toy. The contaminated water caused a serious eye infection that, thankfully, he recovered from in hospital.

Read more here: Bath Toy Danger: Mum’s Warning After Toddler’s Near Blindness from Bath Water

We also shared a story about a mum who discovered her children’s lunch boxes were riddled with mould, despite cleaning them regularly.

Check out: Parents Urged to Check For Mould After This Timely Lunch Box Reminder

lunch box mould warning

Mould dangers 

Being exposed to mould on a regular basis can clearly do some serious damage to our bodies.

Better Health Victoria reports mould exposure can trigger nasal congestionsneezingcoughingwheezingrespiratory infections and worsening asthma and allergic conditions. If you’ve been subjected to living with mould for a while and have noticed a change in your health, it would be a very good idea to visit your doctor for medical advice.

Unfortunately, mould comes with the territory for many homes, especially in humid areas. If you are renting, you will need to contact your landlord to discuss any mould problems.

Removing mould

We’ve got some great tips on getting rid of mould including the mould-busting superhero product that has been proven effective on even the harshest mould infestations.

Check out: Mould 101: Helpful Hints on How to Remove Mould and What You Need to Know


Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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