Coroner's Court of Western Australia

Inquest into the Death of James David HECTOR

Inquest into the Death of James David HECTOR

Delivered on :10 September 2021

Delivered at : Perth

Finding of : Deputy State Coroner Linton

Recommendations : N/A

Orders/Rules : N/A

Suppression Order : N/A

Summary : Mr James Hector was a sentenced prisoner at the time of his death when he died 19 August 2019 at Bethesda Claremont Private Hospital from bronchopneumonia and upper airway obstruction in a man with end-stage oral cancer, treated palliatively.  He was a 47 year old.

Mr Hector was diagnosed with squamous cell cancer in his mouth in 2006.  He underwent treatment and the cancer was successfully removed, but the oral cancer returned in 2017.

In July 2019 Mr Hector had a brief hospital admission for pneumonia before he returned to prison.  It was clear that the tumour in his mouth was continuing to grow.  Mr Hector was transferred to Bethesda Hospital to receive palliative care on 24 July 2019.  Mr Hector expressed a desire to be transferred Kununurra or Derby Hospital, but unfortunately this was unable to be arranged.

On 19 August 2019, Mr Hector’s condition deteriorated, and he became confused and distressed, with difficulty breathing.  Mr Hector was given medication to calm him, and his breathing eventually settled.

The Deputy State coroner was satisfied that Mr Hector received a high level of medical care while he was in custody, over the many years following his initial cancer diagnosis, and in particular in the months leading up to his death.

Catch Words : Death in Custody : Treatment, Supervision and Care : Natural Causes

Last updated: 4-Aug-2022

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