Coroner Peter White, has recently handed down findings in relation to the death of 26-year-old Amy Hauserman at the Frankston Hospital on 16 March 2008.
Amy had been an inpatient of the Frankston Hospital's psychiatric ward at the time of her death. She had been permitted to take a bath, unsupervised, despite being noted as being drowsy and in a poor mental and physical state. She was later found face down in the bath and was found by the Coroner to have died from "hypoxic brain injury in a setting of emersion." The Coroner found it was uncertain how Amy came to be face down in the bath and whether she fell into an unconscious state or accidentally slipped stepping out of the bath. The Coroner found that she was acutely unwell, physically frail and in a poor physical state, but he accepted that she was not suicidal.
The Coroner has found that the Hospital failed to properly assess Amy and did not do a full risk assessment before permitting her to bath on her own. The Coroner held that allowing Amy "to get in and out of, and remain in the bath, all without constant supervision was made in error and cannot be supported."
Frankston Hospital informed the Coroner that after Amy's death it no longer permits patients in its high dependency psychiatric ward to have baths.
Colin Hauserman, Amy's father said: "We have received the Coroner's findings with mixed emotions. We are relieved the failings by Frankston Hospital have been recognised by the Coroner. But these findings confirm ours and the Coroner's believe that if the Hospital had looked after Amy better and showed her the due and proper care she deserved, she would still be with us now."
Andrea Tsalamandris, the family's lawyer, said: "The Coroner's criticisms of the Hospital are of significant. He has found Amy's death was preventable - she should have been monitored in the bath. Then whatever happened to her, she could have been immediately rescued, resuscitated and saved."
Tsalamandris added: "Amy's death has had a profound impact on her family. They have been destroyed by the circumstances of Amy's death."
Damages claims for Amy's parents and brother Paul are listed for hearing in the County Court of Victoria in May 2014.