Mackay family’s grief as autopsy delayed
A FAMILY'S grief was compounded when they thought they might not have their son's body in time for his funeral tomorrow.
Mackay man Paul Ingledew said he feared the worst when the State Government delayed the release of the body of his son Paul Ingledew Jnr.
An epileptic, he died 10 days ago, aged 37, after a suspected seizure.
The hold-up was due to the need for an autopsy, which could not be performed in Mackay.
Mr Ingledew said he was then told pathologists in Rockhampton and Townsville were unable to do the autopsy as they were off sick.
As late as yesterday, he was still concerned his son's body would not be released in time for the funeral, despite contacting government officials and politicians.
He was relieved when then told an autopsy, which was inconclusive, had been performed in Rockhampton on Tuesday night, but was still angry his family had been put through the ordeal.
Mr Ingledew said no-one had taken responsibility for the delay and the government had been heartless and acted shabbily.
"The system has failed so miserably in this particular issue. It is just not good enough."
Queensland Health yesterday confirmed autopsies were unable to be performed in Mackay.
"Autopsies should be performed by a trained and qualified pathologist. There are no pathologists in Mackay performing autopsies," a spokeswoman said, referring the Mercury to the Office of the State Coroner for further comment.
That office was contacted but was unable to provide a response by deadline.
Mr Ingledew said it was distressing that politicians had not helped.
"Phone calls to the offices of (Member for Whitsunday) Jason Costigan and (Health Minister) Lawrence Springborg were not responded to," he said.
"This was despite assurances the matter would be followed up."
City Funeral Services manager Chris Ashmore said autopsies once were performed in Mackay.
"They have all this new equipment in the new hospital but they can't perform autopsies.
"This can add up to a week to the date of the funeral."
A spokesman for Mr Springborg said he felt saddened for the family.
"My sympathies are extended to them during this time," he said.
"The issue raised is for the coroner and I have asked the health service to ensure any assistance required is provided to the coroner and the family."