Coroner's Court of Western Australia

Inquest into the Death of Robin David MACARTNEY

Inquest into the Death of Robin David MACARTNEY

Delivered on :24 May 2019

Delivered at : Perth

Finding of : Coroner Jenkin

Recommendations :N/A

Orders/Rules : N/A

Suppression Order : N/A

Summary : At the time of his death, the deceased was a sentenced prisoner in the custody of the Chief Executive Officer of the Department of Corrective Services (as it then was). The deceased died at Bethesda Hospital on 13 July 2016 as a result of bronchopneumonia on a background of metastatic colon cancer. He was 62 years of age.

The inquest focused on the care provided to the deceased while he was a prisoner, as well as on the circumstances of his death.

On 12 December 2006 following a colonoscopy at Royal Perth Hospital, the deceased was diagnosed with metastatic sigmoid colon cancer. Surgery was recommended, but the deceased refused, believing that God would cure him. On 19 February 2007 signed a medical escort waiver declining to attend an appointment at Royal Perth Hospital for treatment. Despite reviews by the medical officers at Casuarina Prison, the deceased continued to refuse surgery.

On 4 April 2007 the deceased was reviewed by a psychiatrist who determined the deceased was competent to make decisions about his medical treatment and the deceased did not have a mental illness or cognitive impairment. By the end of 2008 the deceased’s cancer had progressed. After being assured that he would not be required to wear leg restraints during any hospital admission, the deceased agreed to have surgery to address his cancer. Following surgery, the deceased was seen by numerous specialists and in 2010, secondary tumours (metastases) were detected in his lungs. These were treated with good effect by radiotherapy. A lesion was found in the deceased’s liver and this was treated successfully by chemotherapy in July 2015.

On 5 January 2016, the deceased was admitted to Royal Perth Hospital with falls and confusion. Tests showed he had metastases in his brain. The deceased underwent brain surgery to remove the tumours. On 25 May 2016 the deceased was admitted to Fiona Stanley Hospital and a CT scan of his brain showed further metastases. After treatment he was transferred to St John of God Murdoch Community Hospice on 3 June 2016. After a few days he was assessed as not requiring hospice care and was returned to the infirmary at Casuarina Prison on 9 June 2016. The deceased had falls in the infirmary on the 15 and 27 June 2016, despite being provided with various aids and a commode.

On 1 July 2016 the deceased was found in the corner of his room in the infirmary and was taken to Fiona Stanley Hospital. On admission he was found to have fractured his right upper arm bone (humerus) and after treatment he was admitted to the hospice at Bethesda Hospital. He remained in the hospice until his death on 13 July 2016.

Having regard to all of the circumstances of the deceased’s case, the Coroner found that the supervision, treatment and care provided to the deceased during his incarceration was reasonable and appropriate.

Catch Words : Death in Custody : Supervision, treatment and care : Natural Causes.

Last updated: 31-May-2019

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