Coronial Inquest into the death of Eric WUMBIE
Delivered on: 20 February 2020
Delivered at: Perth
Finding of: Coroner Jenkin
Suppression Order: N/A
Summary: Mr Wumbie was 37 years of age when he died at Fiona Stanley Hospital on 13 April 2016 from valvular and ischaemic heart disease.
At the time of his death, Mr Wumbie was a sentenced prisoner having been received at the Broome Annexe of West Kimberley Regional Prison on 29Â June 2015. He presented with no specific concerns and no health issues were identified. He was described as a quiet individual who complied with prison rules and who was polite and courteous.
On 17Â FebruaryÂ 2016, Mr Wumbie complained shortness of breath on exertion. This was the first occasion on which he had reported symptoms which may have related to his heart. On examination, his heart sounds were normal, but his abdomen was tender. He was given medication for possible gastro-oesophageal reflux. On 12Â MarchÂ 2016 he reported pains in his chest and abdomen and shortness of breath. His pulse was slightly elevated but his blood pressure and oxygen saturations were normal. He was seen again on 20 March 2016 and although his chest was clear, his face and ankles were swollen and a trace of protein was noted in his urine. When he was reviewed by the prison medical officer on 21 March 2016, his swelling and protein levels had become worse. As a result he was transferred to Derby Hospital where he was diagnosed with heart failure. He was subsequently transferred to Broome Regional Hospital, where his serious heart condition. He was given intravenous antibiotics and transferred to Fiona Stanley Hospital on 24 March 2016, by Royal Flying Doctor Service.
On 2 April 2016, Mr Wumbie was discharged from Fiona Stanley Hospital to the infirmary at Casuarina Prison to await surgery. The plan was that he would undergo procedures to replace his aortic valve and address his blocked coronary arteries. Whilst in the infirmary, Mr Wumbie received full-time nursing care.
On the evening of 3 April 2016, Mr Wumbieâ€™s cellmate found him coughing up blood and complaining of chest pain. Mr Wumbie was taken to Fiona Stanley Hospital by ambulance and scheduled for surgery on 13 April 2016.
On 13 April 2016, Mr Wumbie was taken to theatre and after he was anaesthetised, but before the procedure began, he developed a life-threatening heart rhythm. He was successfully defibrillated and a normal rhythm was achieved, but tragically, the life-threatening heart rhythm returned, he developed other complications and he died during surgery.
The Coroner was satisfied that Mr Wumbie received a high standard of care at Fiona Stanley Hospital and that the standard of supervision, treatment and care he received, whilst in custody, was reasonable.
Catch Words: Death in Custody : Natural Causes.
Report: Eric WUMBIE