Doctor concedes passing on historic information ‘a mistake’
COAST GP Dr Karen Sander has conceded she made a mistake by using historical information provided to her by BE Lifestyle when referring quadriplegic mother-of-two Leah Floyd for a mental health assessment.
But Dr Sander gave evidence to a coroner's inquest on Friday that she did everything she could to get Mrs Floyd to hospital in the week before her death on October 10, 2013.
Dr Sander said the historical information she used when referring Mrs Floyd for a mental health assessment at Nambour General Hospital had been supplied to her by BE Lifestyle managing director Belinda Wardlaw.
Mrs Floyd had been living at BE Lifestyle's Yandina Creek home for 10 days when Dr Sander's referral led to her admission to Nambour General Hospital's psychiatric ward on September 5, 2013.
Dr Sander was asked why she had included some specific information, which is the subject of a non-publication order, in the referral.
"It was a mistake," Dr Sander said.
"I simply reported what Belinda reported to me."
She said Mrs Floyd had made a reference to suicide during a consultation on September 4.
When questioned why the reference was not recorded in notes, Dr Sander said that was an oversight on her part.
Dr Sander said she had not considered arranging for Mrs Floyd's mental health to be assessed at the Yandina Creek home instead of at hospital.
She said on the basis of the information she had on September 5, including input from Ms Wardlaw, she thought Mrs Floyd needed an assessment that day.
"Whether I made the correct decision or not, I don't know."
Mrs Floyd stayed in hospital until her discharge back to the Yandina Creek home on September 19.
Dr Sander saw Mrs Floyd at her surgery on October 1 and issued a script for antibiotics for an infection.
She said she would have expected the script to be filled by Mrs Floyd's carer that afternoon, however, the court heard in previous evidence it did not get filled until late the next day.
Dr Sander said she had advised BE Lifestyle on October 4 that due to concerns about Mrs Floyd's declining health, she needed to go to hospital straight away.
Mrs Floyd was ultimately taken to Nambour hospital two days later, where she died four days after admission.
Ms Wardlaw also continued giving evidence on Friday, having started on Thursday.
The court heard Ms Wardlaw had been on a sabbatical from her position for the past 14 months.
She spoke about how clients were admitted to BE Lifestyle facilities and how new staff were trained.
Ms Wardlaw said she thought it was appropriate for her to contact Dr Sander to relay background information on Mrs Floyd because she had a release form signed by Mrs Floyd's mother.
She believed Mrs Floyd had been a party to the signing of the form.
When asked if she had verified any of the information given to her by Mrs Floyd's mother before passing it on, Ms Wardlaw conceded maybe she should have.
Ms Wardlaw also said she felt bullied into accepting Mrs Floyd back into the facility after her September 19 discharge from Nambour General Hospital.
After a short break in proceedings, Coroner John Lock agreed Ms Wardlaw's evidence could be adjourned.
He thought it not appropriate that Ms Wardlaw, who is confined to a wheelchair with a rare form of muscular dystrophy, endure lengthy court sessions.
Ms Wardlaw and former BE Lifestyle house supervisor Andrea Messer are among witnesses scheduled to appear when the inquest resumes at Maroochydore Court House on August 8.