Coroner's Court of Western Australia

Inquest into the Death of Tamar Jemima Sabbath Stitt

Delivered on: 9 October 2014

Delivered at: Perth

Finding of: R V C Fogliani, State Coroner

Recommendations: N/A

Orders/Rules: N/A

Suppression Order: Yes

The evidence given in Court of Mr Trevor Stitt and Mrs Arely Stitt concerning the departure to El Salvador in September 2009 of any family members..

Summary: The deceased was a 10 year old child who prior to the onset of her cancer was in good health. In August 2009 the deceased was diagnosed with a malignant tumour in her liver. The deceased’s parents decided to treat their daughter’s cancer with natural therapies. A disagreement developed between the deceased’s parent and her treating doctors regarding her proposed treatment which was not resolved.

The inquest focused on the cause and manner of the deceased’s death, the role of her parents in refusing to allow her to be treated by conventional medicine and the role of the medical practitioners and the alternative health practitioner and whether the deceased’s death could have been prevented had she had conventional treatment.

The State Coroner found the deceased died on 12 November 2009 at Hospital de Ninos Benjamin Bloom in San Salvador, El Salvador as a result of septic shock and multiple organ failure as complications of advanced metastatic hepatoblastoma.  The State Coroner found death arose by way of natural causes.

The State Coroner heard evidence that a doctor of medicine, who had a reputation for working with cancer patients using alternate remedies, had a consultation with the deceased. The doctor advised the parents that the deceased’s tumour appeared smaller. The State Coroner concluded that this advice was unsupported by the material before him.

The State Coroner found that the doctor’s conduct did not contribute to the deceased’s death, however, the State Coroner did have regard to the broader range of circumstances pursuant to which a referral may be made under s 50 of the Coroners Act 1996. Accordingly, the State Coroner directed that this matter be referred to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulatory Agency.

Catch Words: Alternative therapies - Conventional Medicine - s50 - natural causes


Last updated: 11-Jan-2024

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