A coronial inquest has cleared paramedics of any wrongdoing over the death of a 23-year-old Ballarat woman who died hours after she was told she did not require hospital treatment.
Stacey Louise Yean became violently ill with stomach pains and began vomiting profusely at her home in central Victoria in January last year.
She was found dead in her bed the following morning, but the cause of her death remains a mystery despite an autopsy.
On the day Ms Yean fell ill, her family and friends made two triple-0 calls.
During the first call, Ms Yean’s mother, Adrienne Yean, spoke to a paramedic who said she did not need an ambulance, but suggested calling back if her daughter’s condition deteriorated.
An hour later, a family friend called back and reported that Ms Yean’s breathing was abnormal, prompting an ambulance to be dispatched.
Paramedics checked Ms Yean’s vital signs twice and, finding they were within normal range, advised she likely had a “gastric bug” and would not need to be taken to hospital.
At the inquest, paramedic Jessica Handley testified she then told Ms Yean she would probably be more comfortable at home than in a hospital waiting room.
“Stacey chose to not go to hospital. I didn’t see the need to make her go,” she said.
Ms Yean’s father, Jim Yean, told the court he offered to drive his daughter to hospital on at least three occasions.
“She refused to go on the basis that the paramedics told her she would be sitting in emergency with a bucket for five to six hours,” he said.
Ms Yean’s family believe if she had not been talked out of going to hospital, she would still be alive.
But coroner Phillip Byrne found the paramedics had acted properly.
“[The paramedics’] assessment of Ms Yean’s condition was in accordance with Ambulance Victoria’s clinical practice guidelines,” he said.
“Their performance did not depart from a norm or standard, nor did it fall short of a recognised duty.
“It is possible, perhaps even probable, that Ms Yean, even if transported to hospital, would have been discharged home.”
Outside the coroner’s court, the lawyer representing Ms Yean’s family, Shari Liby, said they were bitterly disappointed.
“Something is seriously wrong when a 23-year-old is sick enough to die a few hours later, and yet not be sick enough to be taken to hospital,” she said.
“Stacey was talked out of going and now isn’t with us anymore.
“So the family’s warning to others with sick loved ones is to insist on treatment and transportation to hospital.”
This post originally appeared on ABC News.
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