Inquest told of delays in death case

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    Inquest told of delays in death case
    A man in a paranoid psychosis after a drug overdose had to be looked after by police officers while waiting 40 minutes before an ambulance was dispatched, an inquest has heard.

    Matthew Winsloe Hinton's mother and sister left the court as a series of calls by neighbours to triple were played, with Mr Hinton screaming in the background.

    Counsel assisting the coroner Jodi Truman told the inquest in her opening that an ambulance had first been called at 5.25am on November 22, 2008 - about eight hours after Mr Hinton took nine LSD tabs and smoked methamphetamine.

    But while two Nhulunbuy police officers tried to calm Mr Hinton and keep him from hurting himself, the initial ambulance request was deleted 26 minutes after it was entered.

    The officers thought the ambulance was on its way.

    It was not until 6.05am when Senior Constable Roger D'Souza - who was at the Nhulunbuy police station trying to contact the ambulance he thought was on its way - called the communications section in Darwin that St John Ambulance communications officer Karen Joyner dispatched the ambulance.

    Mr Hinton was taken to Nhulunbuy Hospital, then flown to Royal Darwin Hospital.

    He died early on November 24 in the intensive care unit with multiple organ failure.

    Ms Truman said Ms Joyner was the one who cancelled the original ambulance request.

    Ms Joyner was the subject of a similar coronial inquest in 2004, where NT Coroner Greg Cavanagh said she had told a woman asking for an ambulance: "We are not a taxi service".

    Mr Cavanagh found she had been "rude and inconsiderate" and her "decision not to send an ambulance was wrong and ill considered".

    The inquest continues.

    EMILY WATKINS october 28th 2009

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