Coroner won’t consider cancer survivors


By Australian Associated Press

22 Aug 2017

An inquest into the bungled chemotherapy dosing of cancer patients in Adelaide will only take limited evidence related to those still surviving.

South Australian Deputy Coroner Anthony Schapel has accepted a report related to one of the survivors but will not seek further details on the other five.

Mr Schapel is inquiring into the deaths of four people, Carol Bairnsfather, 70, Christopher McRae, 67, Johanna Pinxteren, 76, and Bronte Higham, 67, who were underdosed during their treatment at two Adelaide hospitals between July 2014 and January 2015 and later died from leukaemia.

The deputy coroner on Thursday said he would also accept an expert report into the case of another person who was underdosed and is still alive, Andrew Knox, and would rule on its relevance at the end of his inquiry.

But he said he would not seek similar reports on the other five survivors which would only lead to further delays.

Mr Schapel said it was “overwhelmingly” in the public interest for the inquest to proceed.

During the course of their treatment, the 10 patients affected by the chemotherapy bungle received only a single daily dose of the drug cytarabine when they should have received two.

At earlier hearings, Professor John Gibson, the head of haematology at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, told the inquest the frequency of the doses was important.

Prof Gibson said while the effect on individual patients was difficult to predict, giving them a single daily dose was not “optimal”.

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