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Battling mum sues over death
Battling mum sues over death

A widow who says she is struggling to make ends meet for her four children after her husband's death is suing two doctors, St John Ambulance and a healthcare provider for damages.

A week shy of the third anniversary of Robert Hart's death, lawyers for Helen Hart have lodged a writ in the District Court seeking compensation over the death of the 48-year-old in his family home in Parmelia in May 2009.

Speaking to _The Weekend West _ in the same home where her husband lost his life, Mrs Hart said she had lost her children's father and her full-time carer.

She has a rare genetic condition known as Alexander's Syndrome, which took the life of her mother and brother and affects her voice and mobility.

Mrs Hart is seeking compensation over the medical treatment of her husband who had previously been diagnosed with pancreatitis and had a cyst which had burst, causing internal bleeding when he died.

She claims the death was "caused by the breach of contract and/or the negligence and/or breach of statutory duty" of the doctors, St John, and also Healthscope Limited, which provides private hospital, medical centre and pathology services.

Mrs Hart said she called an ambulance after her husband collapsed on May 25, 2009.

According to a Government-appointed report into the ambulance service in October 2009, the SJA communications centre received a call at 3.49pm that day requesting an ambulance for pancreatitis and vomiting blood.

The call was prioritised as a level 4.NO FURTHER DETAIL

Mrs Hart made a second call at 4.02pm and a third call at 4.17pm to restate urgency and check where the ambulance was.

A crew was sent at 4.10pm, and arrived 20 minutes later. But the crew required a paramedic back-up which did not arrive until 5.01pm when Mr Hart had already suffered fatal blood loss.

The inquiry report found there had been delays. However, it made no finding on whether the delay had contributed to Mr Hart's death.

Mrs Hart, who is also suing on behalf of her four children, said she had not taken legal action to punish anyone but wanted compensation to secure the future of her family.

The 42-year-old said she was struggling financially to provide for her children, aged 7 to 13, and was disappointed in the way her husband's case was handled.

"There are just myself and the kids, so it is very hard," she said. "Sometimes I am in tears because I just can't cope. If it was not for my children and my Christian faith with the church, I don't know how I would have got through."

St John Ambulance WA chief executive Tony Ahern said Mr Hart's death was tragic and regrettable.

"I personally met the Hart family to express my sincere condolences on behalf of St John Ambulance and to offer support and assistance to the family," Mr Ahern said.

"I can confirm that we provided counselling and support services for the family at the time.

"St John Ambulance WA has not as yet received formal notification of any intended legal action.

"Therefore, we will need time to review and assess any case put forward to us before discussing our position in regards to this matter."

Healthscope and the doctors could not be contacted for comment.