Coroner's Court of Western Australia

Inquest into the Death of Maung PU

Inquest into the Death of Maung PU

Delivered on :14 July 2017

Delivered at : Perth

Finding of : Coroner Linton

Recommendations :Yes

I recommend the Government of Western Australia initiate an independent strategic review of the aeromedical (rotary wing) retrieval services in Western Australia. The review should include consultation with AMSA, WA Health, St John Ambulance, the Royal Flying Doctor Service, WA Police, DFES and the Harbour Masters of the various ports.  A primary concern should be to ensure that there are appropriate assets that are stretcher capable, with properly trained medical staff, readily available.  With that aim in mind, the review should consider whether it is practical to establish an emergency medical service involving rotary wing helicopters and staffed with trained medical personnel, in the State’s North West.

Orders/Rules : N/A

Suppression Order : N/A

Summary : The deceased was a seaman on board a vessel travelling between China and Western Australia when he died on 30 September 2012. His body was flown to the nearest port, being Port Hedland.  The deceased was 49 years old.

The deceased was working as a second engineer on board the Equator Prosper when he became acutely unwell with abdominal pain and vomiting on the morning of 29 September, 2012. His condition deteriorated over the next 24 hours and he repeatedly requested to be transferred to hospital.  This request was supported by other crew members on board the vessel, however, the request was denied by the Ship’s Captain.

The Captain did eventually contact the Port Hedland Harbour Tower and request a medical evacuation at approximately 1.00pm on 30 September 2012. The deceased was by then either moribund or dead.  The Port Hedland Authority acted promptly and provided some assistance by sending a security officer with first aid training in a helicopter.  However, by the time the helicopter arrived at the ship, it would seem the deceased had already died and they were transporting a body.  The security officer did the best he could do in the circumstances, and gave the deceased oxygen and transported the deceased immediately to the Port Hedland Hospital, where upon arrival it was confirmed he was already deceased.

The Coroner noted the inquest highlighted the limitations in the services available for medical evacuations from ships in the Pilbara and the Coroner made a recommendation.

Catch Words : Medical Emergency Evacuation from ship to harbour : Medical Care provided to crew members : Natural Causes

Last updated: 28-Jul-2017

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