Coroner's Court of Western Australia

Inquest into the Death of Pamella Leslie REES

Inquest into the Death of Pamella Leslie REES

Delivered on :21 September 2018

Delivered at : Perth

Finding of : Coroner Linton

Recommendations :N/A

Orders/Rules : N/A

Suppression Order : N/A

Summary : At the time of her death the deceased had been suffering for many years with multiple sclerosis. Her symptoms increased and she spent the last eight or nine years of her life in a wheelchair.  Her friend and housemate, Graham Hall, acted as her carer for most of that time, with some assistance from services such as MSWA and Silver Chain at various times.

The focus of the inquest was primarily on the last month of the deceased’s life and whether the care provided by her carer and her GP was reasonable in the circumstances that were presented to them at the time.

As the deceased’s health deteriorated significantly she became increasingly reluctant to allow outside people to help her. The deceased preferred to rely entirely upon her carer for her day-to-day care, apart from input from her neurologist and general practitioner as to her medication regime and general monitoring of her health.  By June 2014 the deceased’s care needs had become so great her carer had to stop working in order to care for her.  She ate less and less, had trouble breathing and was reportedly in pain all the time.  She was unable to go to the toilet or shower without assistance.  In the final days of her life the deceased had stopped eating and drinking altogether.  Her carer did not seek any medical assistance for her for a number of days.

When the deceased’s carer found her unresponsive on the morning of 30 June 2014 he was concerned and called MSWA for advice. They told him to ring an ambulance but he chose to take her into the shower first as he wanted to make her presentable before what he thought would be a trip to the hospital.  MSWA staff had taken their own action and made a request for an ambulance to attend.  When paramedics arrived at the house the deceased was already dead.  There were signs she had been dead for some time.

The Coroner found the deceased had died on 30 June 2014 at her home as a result of disseminated metastic carcinoma of unknown primary in a woman with multiple sclerosis. The deceased died from cancer which had not been diagnosed at the time of her death.

The Coroner found the conduct and care provided by the deceased’s carer and her GP were reasonable in the circumstances that they faced, taking into account the deceased’s unwillingness to accept help from outside services.

Catch Words : Appropriateness of Care : Optional care for suffers of Multiple Sclerosis : Natural Causes.

Last updated: 30-Apr-2019

[ back to top ]