Coroner says Fatal Hospital Accident was due to No Risk Assessment

A Coroner has said that the death of a young woman in a hospital accident was due to no risk assessment being performed and could have been avoided with a better standard of care.

The death of Amy Hauserman in March 2008 was a tragic event. Amy had voluntarily entered the psychiatric ward of the Frankston Hospital in Melbourne after doctors had raised concerns about the return of a schizophrenic condition which led to hearing suffering from anorexia in her teens.

Amy had allowed to take a bath without supervision and drowned either due to a fall as she was trying to get out of the bath or because she lapsed into an unconscious state while taking it. The Coroner – Peter White – said in his report that, irrespective of how the hospital accident happened, Amy would not have died had a nurse been present.

Coroner White also highlighted in his report that no risk assessment had been conducted to see if Amy was capable of taking a bath on her own – indeed one nurse at the inquest gave evidence that she was unaware there was a protocol for patients taking baths.

The Coroner stated that the hospital accident due to no risk assessment may even have been avoided if one of the nursing staff had sought the advice of Amy´s consultant and commented that it was an “appropriate response to this tragic episode” when told that the hospital no longer offered baths to patients in its high dependency psychiatric ward.

Amy´s father spoke to the press after the hearing had concluded and confirmed that a compensation claim for a hospital accident due to no risk assessment was already underway, with a hearing into the case scheduled for May 2014.