Investigation needed into tragic death

August 30th, 2012 by: admin

Thursday 30 Aug 2012

A full, independent investigation must be undertaken into the events surrounding the death of a young man who was repeatedly misdiagnosed and refused treatment by hospital and ambulance services, Shadow Health Minister Roger Cook said today.

Mr Cook said on around July 29, Bradley Lawrence Jr was taken by ambulance to the emergency department at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital after suffering chest pains.  He was later sent home with a course of antibiotics to treat what was diagnosed as a chest infection.

Mr Lawrence’s condition deteriorated by August 4 and he called an ambulance at 11am after experiencing difficulty breathing. The attending ambulance refused to take him to hospital and despite pleading with the paramedics, he was told to go back to his house and rest.

He suffered further chest pains after putting his niece to bed in the evening and died of a suspected stroke at around 8pm.

“Mr Lawrence’s death was a tragedy that should have been avoided and his family deserved answers,” Mr Cook said.

“He knew he was very sick and no one believed him.

“Mr Lawrence’s family has been left heartbroken and searching for answers about his death.”

Mr Cook said the treatment of Mr Lawrence by the hospital and ambulance service raised serious questions about the way patients were managed.

“We all know chest pains are a reason to go immediately to a hospital,” he said.

“Why was Mr Lawrence not admitted to hospital for further testing in the first place and why were his repeated pleas for help ignored?”

Mr Cook said the incident must be fully investigated.

“Something has gone seriously wrong in the case of Mr Lawrence,” he said.

“We know there is a high proportion of Aboriginal Western Australians who are at serious risk from major health conditions affecting the heart, kidneys and other organs.

“The Barnett Government owes it to his family to inquire into this incident and provide answers as to why it went so badly wrong.

“Western Australians deserve to know when they present to a hospital or call an ambulance their symptoms will be taken seriously.

“The investigation should also examine what pressure the hospital and ambulance staff were working under.

“The Barnett Government is making our doctors and nurses on the front line do more and more with less and less.

“The risk of errors is heightened under these circumstances.”

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