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Coroner's statement on stroke patients' deaths

16 May 2017 | AMA(SA) statement from President Dr William Tam  

“Our thoughts are first and foremost with the family members and friends who have lost their loved ones and for whom the recent  reports may be distressing at a time of grief and uncertainty.”

“The role of the coroner is an important one: it is about helping  to identify what went wrong, when a death has been sudden or unexpected, or shortly after leaving hospital – and in a few other specific circumstances. When a sudden or unexpected death occurs, a coronial finding can help family members understand what happened and help prevent future deaths. As doctors, we understand how important this can be, and doctors take their role in assisting the coroner very seriously.” 

“Some deaths may not fall under the specific criteria to prompt a report to the coroner, and the coroner acts on the basis of the information they receive. Only a relatively small number of deaths fall under the criteria for reporting to the coroner, and the coroner then makes a determination as to whether further inquiry is needed. If the coroner is not receiving the information they need, or there is a lack of transparency, that is of concern. The AMA(SA) is also concerned at issues the coroner has raised about accessing the information they need when records come from the new EPAS administration and health record system.”

“We do not know just what happened in relation to the recent deaths, or the background to what was or wasn’t reported, or why. But what we do know is that the coroner must be assisted to undertake whatever investigations they believe are needed, both now and in the future.”