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Coronial inquest belongs to private hospital access not offered to residents

Coronial inquest belongs to private hospital access not offered to residents

The investigation on Thursday heard from Danny McAteer, who was a senior officer in the Federal Ministry of Health in charge of elements of St Basil’s situation.

Judge Cain was shown communications from the federal health bureaucracy with detailed repeated warnings on July 21 that serious intervention was needed in St Basil’s.

Used PPE and other debris piled up outside St Basil’s in Fawkner at the height of last year’s fatal outbreak.Credit:Penny Stephens

“We were trying to figure out what options we had,” said Mr McAteer, who was asked by a lawyer who assisted forensic pathologist Peter Rozen, QC, whether he was aware that the St Basil’s outbreak was at the time “considered at the highest level by the Commonwealth Government.” McAteer agreed that he was aware of this.

In court Thursday was Klery Loutas. Her mother Filia Xynidakis lived on St. Basil’s and was transferred from St. Basil’s to a hospital on July 25 unconscious, in a state of dehydration, with fever and with pressure ulcers from not being moved regularly.

Mrs. Xynidakis died at the hospital three weeks later, but never had COVID-19. “She died for no reason, but because of the lack of communication and coordination. She should be here,” Ms Loutas said.

Mrs Loutas was never made aware that the evacuation of all residents was being considered at the highest level of government four days before she managed to get her mother into the hospital. “I tried to get her out, but I could not,” she said. “When I was sitting in court [today], I started crying because I thought all this could be prevented. If everyone had considered what was best for the residents, we would not have been here. ”

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All that was offered to the home after Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton ordered all of St Basil’s staff on July 21 was a “surge” of nursing staff from private provider Aspen Medical.

The unfolding crisis in St Basil’s was so severe that the country’s Chief Nursing Officer Alison McMillan was also asked to visit the home the following day to assess the situation. She declared the home “fit for purpose” and said there was “no need for a significant evacuation of positive residents to the hospital”.

Also on Thursday, Mr Rozen highlighted that a call center set up by the federal government could not communicate daily with relatives of St Basil’s residents.

That call center failed so violently that some families received updates from social workers that their relatives were well inside St Basil’s, when in fact they were dying in a hospital. “People got no useful information from these calls,” Mr Rozen told the court.

“This process was put in place to meet the political demand that it could be said that the resident’s families were called on a daily basis. It was never really about providing [useful] Information. What do you say to that? ”Rozen asked the Federal Department of Health’s Mr. McAteer.

“I feel like you’re asking me [if] the only reason an outgoing call center was set up was that there was political motivation to do so, ”Mr McAteer replied. “It may have been [part of the rationale], but there was also a desire to add value here and give a positive result for those families. It was more than just a politically driven offer. “

The investigation continues where Professor Sutton is due to appear before Judge Cain on Friday.

Meanwhile, coronavirus cases in geriatric care continue to grow, with a home in Melbourne experiencing an outbreak that had grown to 31 residents on Thursday. The home, Baptcare Westhaven in Footscray, has also had six residents dead with coronavirus.

This year, 99 nursing home residents in Victoria have died with COVID-19. It’s on top of 655 that perished with the virus during last year’s outbreak.

Baptcare said in a statement on Thursday that there were a total of 35 cases of COVID-19 in its home in Westhaven – which included four workers as well as 31 residents.

A spokesman for Baptcare said the vaccination rate among Westhaven residents was 90 percent among residents and 100 percent among staff. Four of the positive residents were not fully vaccinated.

The house is now locked down as a result of the eruption.

The Federal Ministry of Health publishes every Friday a report on homes around the country with COVID-19 outbreaks. The latest report showed that there were 33 active outbreaks around Australia, of which 23 were in Victoria.

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