The family of a 26 year-old woman who drowned in a bath two days after she was admitted to hospital are to make a claim for compensation for a lack of nursing care.
Amy Hauserman had voluntarily entered the psychiatric ward of Frankston Hospital in Melbourne in March 2008 after doctors had feared she was relapsing into a schizophrenic condition from which she had previously suffered with anorexia.
Two days after her admission, Amy was discovered face-down in a bath – having either lapsed into unconsciousness during the bath or having slipped and fallen while trying to get out of it according to Coroner Peter White.
At the inquest into Amy´s death, the Coroner highlighted the fact that the bath had been taken without supervision and, had a nurse been present, there would have been the opportunity to rescue her irrespective of the nature of the accident which led to her drowning.
The Coroner´s report also revealed that no risk evaluation had been conducted before Amy was allowed to take the bath without supervision and her consultant had not been consulted. It was also noted that one of the nurses who worked on the ward at the time gave evidence that she was unaware there was a protocol for patients taking baths.
Following the release of the Coroner´s Report, Frankston Hospital announced it was no longer offer baths to patients in its high dependency psychiatric ward – a move which the Coroner said was an “appropriate response to this tragic episode”.
However, Amy´s father said “these findings confirm ours and the Coroner’s belief 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.”
He confirmed that the family had already made a compensation claim for the lack of nursing care and that a court date had been arranged in May 2014 for the claim against the Mornington Peninsula Health Service to be heard.