Man's death in aged care investigated by coroner

THE death of an elderly resident of a Toowoomba aged care facility is the subject of a coronial inquest.

Eighty-six year old Albert Eric Bruce Biffin died on or about February 27, 2013.

Mr Biffin had been a resident of Blue Care Village and had been complaining of being unwell in the days leading up to his death.

The inquest heard from two registered nurses at the facility including Samuel Suarez who had attended Mr Biffin in the Jacaranda Unit after he complained of vomiting, dizziness and constipation.

However, he told the court he was actually working in another ward and responsible for the care of patients in a 32-bed unit but as a registered nurse he was at times called to other units to administer care as a registered nurse.

Mr Biffin had been in a low care unit but he had been called to see him.

Mr Suarez said Mr Biffin had complained about some pain about his abdomen and that his hernia appeared "a bit red".

He had given Mr Biffin some oral morphine for the pain as directed by a doctor and the patient had eventually settled down.

He had also given him some medication for constipation.

He said he had visited Mr Biffin on the evening of February 25 toward the end of his shift at 10.30pm.

Mr Suarez said Mr Biffin had settled and was sleeping and he had faxed a letter about his condition to his doctor who he realised was to see Mr Biffin the next day.

He said staff generally discussed the condition of patients at a hand over of shifts and that if Mr Biffin's condition had deteriorated he could have had him taken to hospital but at 10.30pm he appeared settled and in no pain.

He said the doctor had seen Mr Biffin about lunch-time the next day.

The inquest proposes to investigate the identity of the deceased, when, where and how he died and what caused the death; adequacy or otherwise of nursing and residential care including monitoring, documentation and referral to medical care; and adequacy or otherwise of medical treatment including history, examination, hand over and communication.

The inquest before Coroner Christine Clements will continue today before moving to Brisbane.


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