Detective Inspector Andy Day died on Concord Hospital floor
By Janet Fife-Yeomans, dtm
April 24, 2008 12:00am
CONCORD Hospital and a leading specialist have been secretly disciplined by the Health Care Complaints Commission after a patient was found dead on the floor in the middle of the night.
Widow Jacqui Day complained about the treatment of her husband Andy, a top undercover police officer, after an anonymous letter from nurses at the hospital said: "Mr Day should not have died."
Detective Inspector Day, 45, was being treated for pneumonia and died when his oxygen tube fell out of its wall tap for the second time in six hours.
After an inquiry behind closed doors, the HCCC found that Concord, a major teaching hospital, had provided below standard care to Mr Day "in a number of respects", The Daily Telegraph can reveal.
The commission also found that Professor Matthew Peters, the head of respiratory medicine at the hospital, had "departed from the acceptable standard of care" in two areas.
He was referred to the Medical Board's conduct committee for "counselling" for not transferring Mr Day to the intensive care unit and for failing to appropriately monitor his oxygen needs.
Mrs Day will today appear before the Government's special commission of inquiry into the state's ailing health system, sitting at Concord, to demand answers and ask why the complaints procedure is shrouded in such secrecy.
There was evidence before the HCCC from four medical experts that Mr Day should have been moved to intensive care.
Professor Peters told the inquiry there were no intensive care beds available and Mr Day did not want to be moved.
The commission's report, obtained by The Daily Telegraph, said there had been at least one bed available on five of the eight days Mr Day was in hospital and there was no record in the medical notes of Mr Day's comments.
"In 2008, you can't leave your loved one in a public hospital on their own," Mrs Day said yesterday, adding that all adverse HCCC findings should be made public.
"I still do not know how a 45-year-old man can be admitted to hospital and die on the floor in the middle of the night."
It will be Mrs Day's first visit to the hospital since her husband died at 3.30am on November 14, 2003, after eight days treatment. The HCCC took 18 months on its inquiry.
The anonymous letter from nurses was sent to the coroner who conducted a 2006 inquest into Mr Day's death.
The cause of death was recorded as a lack of oxygen "due to displacement of oxygen supply", however coroner John Abernethy found Mr Day's condition was so serious he would have died even with different care.
HCCC executive officer Kim Swan said legislation limited what the commission could release to the public.
The Medical Board did not return calls. Professor Peters is overseas.