A healthy 43-year-old mum was sent to get a medical procedure by her workplace. Eight days later, she was dead.
A Melbourne mum died after a severe allergic reaction to a dye from what a coroner has found was an “unnecessary” test.
Mum of two and successful executive Peta Hickey, 43, died in May 2019 after she was rushed to hospital following a reaction to dye for a CT scan.
But coroner Simon McGregor slammed what he called an “unnecessary” test, the doctors and the industry in his findings handed down on Monday.
“Peta died as a result of substandard clinical judgment from doctors at the beginning and the end of this program,” Mr McGregor said.
He said the program was a “snapshot” test of the country’s system of private diagnostic imaging practices that sent 26 scan referrals to a “random selection” of practices and lacked clinical details and follow-up information.
“It may be somewhat of an oversimplification but the snapshot provided by this inquest has revealed an industry putting profits over patients,” Mr McGregor said.
He told the court the unnecessary test proved nothing as an autopsy revealed Ms Hickey had no heart issues.
The CT scan was part of a heart check program her job at labour hire firm Programmed, introduced for managers after an employee had a non-fatal cardiac arrest while working overseas.
The company went to Priority Health Care Solutions to facilitate the program, who outsourced “bulk medical assessments“ from another company called Jobfit.
During the inquest it was revealed Ms Hickey never met the physician who referred her for the invasive scan.
She was injected with the dye on May 1 at the Future Medical Imaging Group’s clinic at Moonee Ponds and soon after she became short of breath and nauseous, the inquest heard.
The radiologist who administered the dye said he wasn’t able to instruct other staff to give her the adrenaline shot.
Among Coroner McGregor’s dozens of recommendations was a call for the federal health minister to audit the conduct of all Australian accredited diagnostic imaging practices for compliance.
He also recommended the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency be notified that the practices of the two doctors were “unsafe and insufficient”.
The coroner found the conduct of Ms Hickey’s employer, the company used to facilitate and coordinate the heart check program and the doctors “causally contributed to Peta’s death”.
More to come.