Coronial possibilities: what steps should you take?

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The Coroner must investigate where someone has died:

  • a violent, unnatural or unexpected death
  • from an injury or accident in general or an incident at their workplace
  • during or after a medical procedure, where the death might be linked to the procedure; and a doctor would not, immediately before the procedure was done, have expected the death
  • from an unknown cause
  • when a doctor won’t issue a medical certificate for the cause of death

The Coroner must also investigate:

  • the sudden and unexpected death of a child under the age of 1
  • the death of someone in care or custody immediately before their death
  • the death of someone escaping from prison, police custody, an institution (prison, detention centre or secure mental health unit); or while a prison officer or police office was trying to detain them.

Often the above instances involve nursing, midwifery or care workers, and it is important you are aware of some basic steps to take. Aside from what your workplace protocols involve, you:

  • may also be required to make a statement if you are a witness to any relevant event in the care/death;
  • should consider that your statement could have serious legal, professional or industrial ramifications;
  • should be aware that anything you write could be used against you;
  • please ensure you contact the ANMF Member Support Team for advice before you make or provide any statement about the matter;
  • remember we may need to activate a referral for your Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) and make a referral to the external law firm that ANMF use. A PII notification is required to be made as soon as possible after an incident to ensure access to the insurance, just like any other insurance;
  • remember to gain permission from the appropriate manager before accessing medical records.

Updates correct as at 9 July 2020.
Authorised by Emily Shepherd, ANMF Tasmanian Branch Secretary

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2020-07-16T16:56:00+10:00
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