Clinicians cleared over patient’s death
TWO nurses investigated over the death of a patient at Cairns Hospital were found to have failed to administer timely CPR, but ultimately cleared by the health watchdog.
The Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency has absolved two doctors and four nurses of any potential failures in the medical care and treatment of Arkadiusz "Arthur" Tumanis, who died suddenly on April 14, 2015, after spending four days in the hospital.
The 39-year-old, who suffered from mental illness and had a history of recreational drug use, was found dead on a chair outside the hospital's mental health unit.
His cause of death was later found to be a ruptured stomach ulcer, which had not been diagnosed.
Documents obtained by the Cairns Post show that AHPRA has cleared all of the clinicians of any wrongdoing, noting that it is satisfied with the actions the health workers and the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service have taken in the wake of Mr Tumanis' death to ensure similar incidents do not occur.
However two nurses, who the Post has chosen not to name, were both found to have had a clinical standard of care of Mr Tumanis "below standard reasonably expected" of them.
The agency's board found that one nurse - who was in breach of core nursing conventions - failed to adequately carry out visual observations of Mr Tumanis during ward rounds and "failed to initiate timely basic life support and CPR when Mr Tumanis was assessed in his presence and found unresponsive, pulseless and not breathing".
The other nurse, also in breach of core nursing conventions, was also found to have failed to initiate timely CPR.
Arthur's father, Cairns man Tony Tumanis, waited more than two years to hear back from AHPRA, after he initially lodged a complaint in late 2017.
He said he was greatly saddened by the agency's conclusion, as it signified that all his attempts to find the truth had been unsuccessful.
"For all the authorities, the matter is already over," he said.
"But for me, it is still open until the end of my days."
He said the treatment of his son in the hospital remained questionable.
"It is clear to me that my son's life could have been saved," he said. "This is a pain I will always carry with me."
An AHPRA spokeswoman said the agency had conducted thorough investigations into concerns raised with it about a number of medical nurses and medical practitioners.
She said the agency could not comment further due to confidentiality provisions under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law.