Inquest to probe disability service death

·2-min read

The death of a 29-year-old Aboriginal man who moved into a house with a support worker to live more independently after years of being cared for by his family will be the subject of an inquest.

Steven Thelander, who had cerebral palsy, epilepsy and type 1 diabetes, had been cared for by his family on North Stradbroke Island in Moreton Bay, off Brisbane for most of his life, a pre-inquest conference was told on Tuesday.

On referral to a social worker in March 2017 Mr Thelander talked of getting employment, doing volunteer work and living independently off the island.

In December that year he moved into a share house run by the organisation Multicap with support workers constantly on site.

Mr Thelander's family supported the move, but stressed his diabetes management was the most important concern and that he should not be allowed to make decisions about his food, counsel assisting Sarah Lio-Willie told the Coroners Court sitting in Brisbane.

He needed reminders to test his blood sugar levels and administer insulin, with support workers required to check the amount of insulin required with Mr Thelander's mother.

The 29-year-old spent Christmas with his family, returning to the house on December 28.

A support worker found two large empty lemonade bottles, empty chip packets and junk food when she woke him on January 15, 2018.

She noted it was not unusual for him to be tired as he had not slept well for a week due to concerns about his mother's health.

After refusing dinner that night Mr Thelander was found unresponsive by a support worker about 8pm.

The worker called Mr Thelander's mother, then an ambulance.

"This appeared to be routine request rather than a priority emergency call," Ms Lio-Willie said.

Paramedics were unable to resuscitate Mr Thelander.

His death was due to diabetic ketoacidosis, with records showing Mr Thelander had displayed signs like lethargy, restlessness and vomiting for days before he died, Ms Lio-Willie told coroner Stephanie Gallagher.

His cerebral palsy was regarded as a significant condition.

The inquest is set to consider processes around his acceptance by Multicap and support he received at the shared house.

Ten witnesses are expected to testify during a four-day inquest, on a date yet to be decided.

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