The Health News – 2 March 2017

• According to reports, ambulance officers may have wrongly declared a 23-year-old woman not sick enough to be taken to hospital the night before she died.

• A report commissioned by CommInsure into claims of unethical behaviour at the Commonwealth Bank’s insurance arm was cleared of “systemic” and “cultural” problems.

• A group of 29 critically ill children with severe intractable epilepsy and seizures were chosen as the first patients to legally access medicinal cannabis in Victoria.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  2nd of March 2017. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

Ambulance officers declared a 23-year-old Ballarat woman not sick enough to be taken to hospital just hours before she died, the Coroners Court of Victoria has heard.

The inquest into the death of Stacey Louise Yean heard she began vomiting at home in Ballarat, in central Victoria, after developing a fever in January last year.

Her family and friends made six separate phone calls, including two emergency triple-0 calls, seeking medical assistance for Ms Yean.

During the first triple-0 call, the court heard Stacey’s mother, Adrienne Yean, spoke to a paramedic who said the illness was probably a 24 to 48-hour virus and there was nothing ambulance officers could do to assist.

After the second emergency call by a family friend, ambulance officers were sent to assess Ms Yean.

The friend told the emergency call-taker that Stacey was extremely sick.

Mrs Yean testified that on examining her daughter, paramedics declared Stacey’s vital signs were normal and told the family she was not sick enough to be taken to hospital.

Mrs Yean told the court her daughter was sweating profusely throughout the day.

She said her daughter repeatedly told the paramedics: “I’m so thirsty. I’m so sick.”

Naomi Hodgson, representing Ambulance Victoria, said Mrs Yean’s version of events was disputed by the treating paramedics.

Paramedic Jessica Handley testified that no such comment was made to her.

She said she told Stacey she would probably be more comfortable at home than in a hospital waiting room.

“Stacey chose to not go to hospital. I didn’t see the need to make her go,” the paramedic said.

Ms Handley was asked if she might have missed something when assessing Stacey.

The autopsy was unable to shed any light on the cause of the young woman’s death.

Stacey’s father Jim Yean told the court he offered to drive his daughter to hospital on at least three occasions.

Mrs Yean told the court the paramedics said they had run out of anti-nausea medication.

However, Ms Hodgson said that was also disputed by the paramedics who would testify they could not administer the medication and then leave Stacey at home.

Mrs Yean said her daughter continued vomiting after the paramedics left, but later that night appeared to have fallen asleep.

When she checked on her in the morning Stacey was dead.

The three-day inquest will examine whether the actions of Ambulance Victoria paramedics contributed to Stacey’s death.

A report commissioned by CommInsure into claims of unethical behaviour at the Commonwealth Bank’s insurance arm has cleared the life insurer of “systemic” and “cultural” problems, despite not speaking to any of the victims nor Benjamin Koh, the whistleblower who revealed the scandal.

The review from accountancy firm Deloitte comes after an investigation by the ABC’s Four Corners and Fairfax Media revealed cases where claims were delayed or denied to terminally ill people.

The Deloitte report is one of three commissioned by the CommInsure Board, alongside reviews last year from DLA Piper and Ernst & Young, which are yet to be released.

In a statement …, the Commonwealth Bank said the report “did not identify issues relating to historically denied claims”.

Deloitte also found that there was no evidence to find that improvements ordered in the wake of the scandal would result in delivering “poor customer outcomes”.

CommInsure managing director Helen Troupe was not available to speak with the ABC despite requests, but said in a media release the report “identified some instances” where customers were treated poorly.

The CBA’s group executive of wealth management, Annabel Spring, said the bank had taken a “robust, independent and wide-ranging approach” to investigating the allegations.

The review was undertaken over 10 months, involved at least 150 people and reviewed more than five million emails relating to the treatment of claims.

Senator Williams, a member of a joint parliamentary committee examining the life insurance industry, also questioned why the whistleblower, Dr Koh, was not interviewed by Deloitte.

All three reviews have been provided to the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority.

A group of 29 critically ill children have been chosen as the first patients to legally access medicinal cannabis in Victoria.

The Andrews Government purchased the [medicinal cannabis] from Canada after changes to federal laws last year.

The children all have severe intractable epilepsy and have multiple daily seizures.

Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy said the children were nominated by paediatric neurologists to receive the treatment and then assessed by a clinical panel.

Ms Hennessy said the cost to the Government over a 12-month period would be about $1 million.

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