By LACHLAN MOORHEAD
A 21-YEAR-OLD Berwick man died from a heart disorder, according to a coronial inquest into his death.
Coroner Audrey Jamieson found no evidence to suggest that Dean Lovett’s death in September 2008 from dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) was preventable, despite concerns from his family regarding the lack of clarity surrounding Mr Lovett’s medical assessment, diagnosis and management.
Mr Lovett first fell sick with episodes of vomiting in early September 2008 and was taken to consult with Dr Shirani Gunawardana from the Casey Superclinic on 6 September, who “objectively noted” Mr Lovett’s palpitations.
Dr Gunawardana wrote Mr Lovett a referral for an x-ray, an electrocardiograph, various blood tests and prescribed him antibiotics before returning home.
The next morning when his symptoms worsened Mr Lovett was taken by his parents to the Casey Hospital Emergency Department where he suffered a cardiac arrest. After a day of treatment Mr Lovett was moved to Monash Medical Centre where he suffered another cardiac arrest during the transfer and a third cardiac arrest upon arrival.
Mr Lovett died on 8 September after “intensive attempts” to resuscitate him.
Ms Jamieson said it had not been proved to a “reasonable satisfaction” that delays in Mr Lovett’s medical assessment by Dr Gunawardana led to his death.
“I find that Dr Gunawardana should have acted on investigating her suspicion of Dean’s underlying cardiac cause in a more timely manner,” she said.
“Had investigations commenced earlier, his cardiac cause may have been diagnosed earlier and he may have been referred to a cardiac medicine specialist, which may have increased his chance of survivability.
“However, it has not been proved to a reasonable satisfaction that this delay caused Dean’s cardiac arrest or that his death could have been prevented.”