A failure by the Launceston General Hospital to order a standard CT scan for an elderly man who fell and hit his head "markedly reduced" the man's chances of survival, a Coroner has found.
Order of Australia recipient Barry Lumley, 81, of Youngtown, died at the LGH from a bleed to the brain after doctors wrongly diagnosed him as having had a heart attack.
Coroner Simon Cooper said in his report that at no stage was a CT scan to Mr Lumley's head carried out by the LGH.
"In fact, it appears that any consideration of the possibility that Mr Lumley had suffered a head injury was overlooked, ignored, or positively excluded once it was concluded that he was suffering a cardiac issue, which he was not," Mr Cooper said.
Mr Lumley had been shopping at the Meadow Mews Plaza in Launceston when he fell to the ground while pushing a trolley, suffering a small bleeding injury to his head.
He arrived in to the LGH emergency department on a Saturday appearing confused, was treated for cardiac issues, and two days later complained of a headache. He then suffered a bleed in the brain and died.
While a CT scan was considered by an emergency doctor, a scan was still not performed.
"Imaging, in the form of a head CT without contrast, is standard practice for older patients with a head strike and probable mild traumatic brain injury," Mr Cooper said.
"There is no reason I can discern why a CT scan of Mr Lumley's head was not performed. His chances of survival and recovery were, in my view, markedly reduced by the decision not to carry out that standard procedure."
Mr Lumley who was described as a "very astute" and "caring" man, was awarded the Order of Australia in the 2017 Queen's Birthday Honours for his dedication to senior's education.
He served briefly for the Royal Australian Navy, was director of the Tasmanian Timber Promotion Board, and was an active member of the Launceston School for Seniors, having been on its committee for 15 years.
His son Mark Lumley questioned "why the hospital didn't conduct a CT scan when Dad first went into hospital"?
Coroner Cooper said it was a reasonable question.
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