Caron Broadway, whose sister died after complaining of pain near her catheter, says there are “deficits” in the health system. (ABC News)
The sister of a disabled woman who died after her calls for help were downplayed and dismissed by medics has pleaded for SA Health to ensure such a preventable death never happens again.
Rita Ann Broadway, 66, died on January 2, 2015 from a urinary tract infection with a background of heart disease and diabetes.
Two days before her death, the former school teacher was taken to Modbury Hospital by ambulance after complaining of pain near her bladder catheter.
A coronial inquest into her death heard her calls for the catheter to be changed were unmet while in hospital, and that her life could have been saved had doctors treated her for a urinary tract infection.
It heard Ms Broadway called the Royal District Nursing Service the day after she was discharged from hospital complaining of severe pain but that a request for her catheter to be changed was again dismissed:
Rita Broadway: Is it possible to have my [catheter] changed today please?
Colette Bailey (nurse): No, I don’t think so, um, not today um, because I’m sure if they needed to change it [they would have done so] last night when you were at the hospital.
Rita Broadway: They wouldn’t do it. It’s causing me a lot of pain still.
In his findings, state coroner Mark Johns said the dismissive response to Ms Broadway’s call for help the day before her death was concerning.
“To my mind it reflects a lack of empathy on Ms Bailey’s part in her attitude to Ms Broadway and I would go so far as to say that in some respects her approach was somewhat dismissive,” he said.
Mr Johns said he understood the nurse was influenced by Ms Broadway telling her she had been to the hospital and that, since her discharge, she did not have any new symptoms.
But he said the nurse should have reached her own opinion on the matter and not merely accepted that of another health professional.
“The impression I have is that Ms Bailey was not paying close attention to the concerns being expressed in the telephone conversation by Ms Broadway.”
‘Atrocious in this day and age’
Professor Anne-Maree Kelly, who was called to give evidence at the inquest as medical expert, compiled a nine-page report on the case and found the doctor who examined Ms Broadway at Modbury Hospital thought she was exaggerating her condition.
Professor Kelly found there was no reason not to have changed the catheter and a urinary tract infection should have been the doctor’s primary diagnosis.
Mr Johns recommended the Health Minister investigate the development of a protocol for diagnostic criteria for catheter-associated urinary tract infections to prevent another death in the same circumstances.
Outside court, Ms Broadway’s sister Caron Broadway called for SA Health to adopt the recommendation.
“For Rita to still be alive she would have needed to have her catheter changed and probably a course of antibiotics and that seems like a really basic thing,” she said.
“For that having to led to someone to die — I think that’s atrocious in this day and age.
“I don’t know how that can happen in Adelaide.
“We always believe that we have the best health care system but there are obviously a few deficits there.”
She said her family was shocked and outraged about the lack of appropriate care her sister received.
“Please look at these policies that are recommended, implement these protocols to prevent this from happening again,” Ms Broadway said.
“Rita was pretty outspoken, I know if it was me in her situation and she was standing here screaming the place down, [saying] ‘I want something done’.”
–Top Twitter To Follow: