Coroner's Court of Western Australia

Inquest into the Death of Ronald Joseph BUCKLAND

Inquest into the Death of Ronald Joseph BUCKLAND

Delivered on : 1 August 2022

Delivered at : Perth

Finding of : Coroner Jenkin

Recommendations : No

Orders/Rules : No

Summary : Mr Ronald Joseph Buckland (Mr Buckland) died on 9 July 2020 at Fiona Stanley Hospital from bronchopneumonia in a man with intra-abdominal carcinoma and multiple co-morbidities, with terminal palliative care.  At the time of his death, Mr Buckland was a sentenced prisoner at Casuarina Prison.  He was 70-years of age.

On 1 March 1995, in the Supreme Court of Western Australia at Perth, Mr Buckland was convicted of the wilful murder of his partner.  He was sentenced to strict security life imprisonment and ordered to serve a minimum of 20-years imprisonment before being considered for parole.

Between October 2014 and March 2016, Mr Buckland was considered for parole several times, but on each occasion the recommendation was parole be denied.  The bases for this recommendation were Mr Buckland’s high risk of re-offending based on his extensive criminal record; his poor performance on previous supervision orders; and his lack of a viable parole plan

Mr Buckland’s medical history included: depression, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cirrhosis of the liver, atrial fibrillation, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease, heart failure, left ventricular hypertrophy and mild valvular disease.  Mr Buckland had coronary artery bypass grafts in March 2018 and a coronary angiogram in June 2018.  Although Mr Buckland was regularly reviewed in the prison medical centre, he routinely declined recommended diagnostic tests and/or referrals to specialist medical practitioners.

On 25 March 2020, Mr Buckland was reviewed by a prison medical officer and found to have a large circular mass in his abdomen.  He initially declined to have the mass investigated, but on 30 March 2020, he experienced severe pain and was transferred to FSH, where a CT scan confirmed an abdominal mass involving his stomach, colon and liver.  Following his death, a review of Mr Buckland’s medical care concluded that opportunities to diagnosis his abdominal cancer at an earlier stage were thwarted by his repeated refusals (throughout 2019) to undergo colonoscopies and/or gastroscopies to investigate his persistent anaemia. 

The coroner was satisfied that Mr Buckland was appropriately managed whilst he was incarcerated, and that his supervision was of a good standard.  The coroner also found that the medical care and treatment that Mr Buckland received whilst he was in custody was of a very good standard and exceeded general community standards.

Catch Words : Death in Custody : Treatment Decisions: Natural Causes

Last updated: 10-Aug-2022

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