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Family Claim Compensation for Fatal Bath Accident in Hospital

The father of a woman who died due to a lack of nursing care is to make a claim for compensation for a fatal bath accident in hospital following an inquest into her death.

Amy Hauserman (26) died two days after voluntarily being admitted to the psychiatric unit of Melbourne´s Frankston Hospital when – according to Coroner Peter White – she either lapsed into unconsciousness or slipped while trying to get out of the bath she had allowed to take without supervision.

At the inquest into her death, the Coroner was critical of the fact that Amy had been allowed to take a bath without a risk assessment being conducted or without consulting her consultant. He found that one nurse on the ward was not even aware that protocol for allowing psychiatric patients to take a bath existed, while the Head of Nursing gave precise details of how supervised baths should be managed.

Returning a verdict of from death due to “a hypoxic brain injury in a setting of immersion”, Coroner White said that the fatal bath accident could not have happened if a nurse had been present who could have rescued Amy and that it was an “appropriate response to this tragic episode” that the hospital no longer allowed patients in its high dependency psychiatric ward to take unsupervised baths.

After the hearing, Amy Hauserman’s father said “We are relieved the failings by Frankston Hospital have been recognised by the Coroner. But these findings confirm ours and the Coroner’s belief that if the hospital had looked after Amy better and showed her the due and proper care she deserved, she would still be with us now.”

He confirmed that the family would be making a claim for compensation for a fatal bath accident in hospital against the Mornington Peninsula Health Service, who was not prepared to comment on the case, but who said in a statement “Peninsula Health is deeply saddened by the death of Ms Amy Hauserman. We have expressed condolence to the Hauserman family on a number of occasions since Amy’s death.”

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