Coroner's Court of Western Australia

Inquest into the Death of Benedict Chifley David CANDY

Inquest into the Death of Benedict Chifley David CANDY

Delivered on : 2 April 2020

Delivered at : Perth

Finding of : Coroner Jenkin

Recommendations :N/A

Orders/Rules : N/A

Suppression Order : N/A

Summary : Benedict Chifley David Candy (Mr Candy) died at Bethesda Hospital on 1 September 2017 from bronchopneumonia in a man with invasive sarcoma-like tumour of the head, with terminal palliative medical care. At the time of his death, Mr Candy was a sentenced prisoner and was 66 years old.

The inquest hearing focused on the care provided to Mr Candy while he was in custody.

On 28 October 2003, Mr Candy was convicted of the murder of his wife and sentenced to life imprisonment. During his incarceration, Mr Candy was assessed as a quiet and courteous person who was well liked and who complied with prison rules. He maintained positive relationships with other prisoners and displayed a high standard of personal hygiene. He was consistently employed while in custody and performed all allocated duties to an excellent standard without supervision.

Mr Candy’s medical history included bowel polyps, prostate cancer and numerous skin lesions, many of which were cancerous. In 1998, he had a Merkel cell carcinoma (a rare form of skin cancer associated with exposure to the sun) removed from the top of his head. The cancer recurred in 2014 and was removed, but Mr Candy declined chemotherapy and radiotherapy, despite being told that if he did not have these treatments, there was a significant risk that the cancer would recur.

On 5 May 2017, prison nurse noticed a lump on the top of Mr Candy’s head. Mr Candy said the lump had been there for about a month and a prison doctor who subsequently reviewed Mr Candy felt the lump was a recurrence of the Merkel cell carcinoma that had been removed in 2014. Mr Candy declined to have the lump investigated and his condition slowly deteriorated.

On 1 June 2017, Mr Candy was registered as a Stage 2 terminally ill prisoner on the Department’s prisoner database. Mr Candy was reviewed by a palliative care nurse from Bethesda Hospital on 2 August 2017, and declined any life prolonging measures and said he did not wish to be resuscitated. He was transferred to Bethesda Hospital on 18 August 2017, and kept as comfortable with intravenous morphine and midazolam until his death on 1 September 2017.

After considering all of the available evidence, the Coroner was satisfied that the standard of supervision, treatment and care that Mr Candy received whilst he was in custody was reasonable.

Catch Words : Death in Custody : Supervision, Treatment and Care : Natural Causes

Last updated: 17-Apr-2020

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