Doctors' treatment of man before death ‘deficient’
Two doctors have been referred to the Office of the Health Ombudsman after inquest findings deemed their treatment of a man who died three days later "deficient".
Matthew Russo, 37, was suffering from flu-like symptoms when he was sent home with a cough suppressant on January 2, 2015 by Dr Seyedfakhroddin Sajadi, then a GP at the Upper Ross Medical Centre.
Mr Russo was coughing up blood and suffering from pneumonia when he saw a different GP, Dr Edel Garcia Monteagudo at the Pinnacle Medical Centre on January 5, 2015, who prescribed him antibiotics and sent him home with a diagnosis of an upper respiratory tract infection.
He was dead within 18 hours, on January 6, 2015.
Five years on, Northern Coroner Nerida Wilson yesterday morning handed down her 33-page findings, where she said the medical treatment provided by Dr Garcia "was not adequate or appropriate".
"The doctor incorrectly diagnosed bronchitis … the doctor did not provide a reasonable explanation for the failure to diagnose pneumonia nor did he positively exclude the diagnosis after confirming crackles on the lung," Ms Wilson said.
"I find that the general practitioners medical treatment of Matthew Anthony Russo was deficient and was not adequate or appropriate.
"I am unable to conclude that Mr Russo's death could have been avoided. It is impossible to know whether Mr Russo would have responded to treatment even if he had presented to a tertiary hospital emergency department."
Both Dr Sajadi and Dr Garcia were referred to the OHO, with findings also provided to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, with an emphasis on the taking and the recording of vital signs and for taking and maintaining clinical notes by general practitioners.
Mr Russo's sister Davalee Jaswinsky said her brother could have contributed more to the community had his life not been cut short.
"He was very talented with his hands … his love for children, which he never get to experience having a child of his own," she said.
"It's been a process of five years, it will definitely give our family the closure to heal and move on, to a point it will always hurt, and nothing will ever be the same again without having him here.
"We can accept the findings and start to heal and start to move on with life as Matthew would want us to do."
Mrs Jaswinsky said her family was pleased with the findings and that her brother's death resulted in positive recommendations.
"It feels like a win for Matthew, his death didn't just fly under the radar … his death is now helping others to not go down the same path as he did," she said.
Originally published as Doctors treatment of man before death 'deficient'