Inquest to examine care after brain tumour surgery

IT was her on first day in her new career as a registered nurse that Ann Louise Parsons realised something was wrong.

The 59-year-old Yeppoon woman could not find her car.

She'd had six days of headaches and nausea by the time she presented in Rockhampton Base Hospital emergency department on September 26, 2012.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service transferred her to the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital the next day where she was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Despite surgery to treat the aggressive condition, Mrs Parsons was pronounced dead at 2.20pm on October 15.

Coroner Christine Clements will next month examine the adequacy of the post-surgical care.

During a hearing in Brisbane on Tuesday, Ms Clements set down an inquest in Brisbane on November 18, 21 and 23 to hear from 15 witnesses.

Melinda Zerner, counsel assisting the Coroner, said the brain tumour was "the most aggressive form" of what was "said to be an incurable disease".

"Despite surgical resection and post-operative radiotherapy and chemotherapy, it carries a poor prognosis," she said.

Ms Zerner said hospital notes showed Mrs Parsons was confused and having trouble with basic questions in the days following her surgery.

She said hospital staff noted the woman had trouble putting words together and was using inappropriate words at various times but did not appear to be deteriorating.

Ms Zerner said the symptoms were not unexpected, being consistent with a syndrome that can develop after such a surgery.

Mrs Parsons was moved from the post-surgery recovery room to the intensive care unit and then to the neurosurgical ward between October 12 and 15.

The court heard how two nurses had gone to administer medication to another patient when they saw Mrs Parsons frothing from the mouth and found she was not breathing.

After calling a code blue and resuscitating her, Mrs Parsons was taken for tests that determined she was brain dead.

The inquest will examine adequacy of communication, whether the patient should have been discharged from intensive care and the cause of the condition that progressed to brain death.


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