Grieving wife demands inquiry

LYN HUMPHREYS
Last updated 05:00 27/06/2014
marie broadmore
CHARLOTTE CURD/Fairfax NZ

AT A LOSS: Marie Broadmore, holding her wedding photo, tells how her husband Vern died of a head injury after being sent home from hospital.

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A grieving and angry widow wants to know why her husband was sent home from Taranaki Base Hospital's emergency department with an undiagnosed and fatal brain bleed.

Truckie Vern Broadmore, 57, of Uruti, hit his head in a fall off the side of his Volvo on June 13.

Yesterday, Marie Broadmore said her husband was taken to New Plymouth's ED after the fall at Pukekura Park - but not given the CT scan she asked for.

He was on anti-coagulant medication and was diabetic.

"If they kept him in for observation, knowing he was on blood thinners, they would have seen the deterioration," she said yesterday.

Instead, she said he was told to take Panadol and return to the ED in the morning if he didn't feel right.

"And that was it.

"If they had kept him in for another three-quarters of an hour they would have seen it [the deterioration].

"I told them we lived 50km out."

She described how about 4am the next day the slow bleed caused by the fall overwhelmed his brain and he suffered a seizure.

"His breathing was horrific. The seizure was like rigor mortis," she says.

She first contacted her neighbour, Allan Cudmore, for help and rang 111.

Her husband was airlifted from a paddock down the road from their isolated mist-covered Uruti home. The Westpac rescue helicopter took them to Waikato Hospital.

But it was too late for the neurosurgeon to save his life, she said. The centre of his brain was full of blood.

He died on June 18.

Last night Taranaki District Health Board chief operating officer Rosemary Clements supported the action taken by her staff.

"Our initial investigation had shown our policy and procedures were followed on the night according to the information we had on our initial assessment," Clements said.

But the widow, supported by her friends, is calling for a full investigation into why he was discharged, desperate to try to stop the same thing happening to anyone else.

Choking up, she said: "I'm still waiting for him to come home."

Her Hamilton lawyer is also looking into laying a complaint with the Health and Disability Commissioner.

Clements said a full internal review was under way, as happened for any unexpected death.

She had been in contact with the family to let them know what was happening and would stay in contact with them.

"We feel real sympathy for the family. It's a really tragic situation. We are working with our staff who also feel the loss keenly," she said.

The death is also under investigation by the coroner, who has called for an autopsy.

WorkSafe is investigating the accident under health and safety legislation.

Broadmore's boss, Kerry Leeman of Wills Contracting of Waitara, declined to comment because of the WorkSafe investigation.

Marie Broadmore said her husband was brought in to the ED by ambulance. When she arrived he was struggling to fill out forms. He had written "fell off side of truck. Hit head".

Every time he was asked where the pain was he replied, his head. She said he told one nurse: "My head is killing me".

He also complained about pain in his back, saying he felt like he'd been at the bottom of a ruck.

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Because of this, staff tested his urine to ensure he had no kidney damage but found no blood loss.

The funeral for the popular truckie, stockcar driver and pig hunter at the crematorium on Wednesday was packed.

Twenty-two trucks formed a convoy behind 5806 - his Volvo eight-wheeler fitted with a hiab - with his casket on top.

His blue and red stock car, number 328 painted with Broady's Team on the side, was second in line as the convoy headed from State Highway 3A to the crematorium.

- Taranaki Daily News

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