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Northam hospital crisis deepens
The West Australian

The death of a 53-year-old woman sent home from Northam Hospital with headache tablets will be the fifth case a Government review of the hospital examines.

Eva Dimer was diagnosed with dehydration after collapsing in July 2011 and being taken to hospital in an ambulance.

After about two hours in the emergency department, she was sent home with Panadol and hydrolyte ice sticks.

But she collapsed again within 30 hours and was taken by helicopter to Royal Perth Hospital, where she died two days later.

Her death expands a list of four other patients who died soon after they were discharged from Northam Hospital.

Mrs Dimer's official cause of death was an aneurysm, a rup- tured blood-filled bulge in the brain.

Her family believe the condition could have been detected before it was too late.

"In my heart, I've always felt that at the first trip to the hospital more could have been done," her daughter Amanda Bennell said yesterday.

"I knew something was seriously wrong."

Mrs Dimer's death was like that of 23-year-old nurse Tamika Ullrich, who died at home after being sent home from Northam Hospital on December 29 with painkillers for a severe headache.

Her death was referred to the State Coroner and prompted Health Minister Kim Hames this week to order chief medical officer Gary Geelhoed to do the review.

He will also examine the treatment for 12-day-old Lachlan Hughes, who died in 2010 of heart failure after the hospital sent him home twice.

The death of Andrew Allan, 16, also sent home with Panadol after the hospital failed to diagnose swine flu, will be revisited despite the Coroner's scathing report on his treatment.

Dr Geelhoed will also look at the death of Janice Saulys, 69, who went to the hospital on June 18 with a broken arm. Her condition deteriorated and she returned to the hospital vomiting and was found to have the onset of renal failure.

She was treated overnight but sent home, only to return to the hospital a week later and fall into a coma.

She died on July 5.

Shadow health minister Roger Cook said confidence needed to be restored in Northam Hospital's level of care.

"We have to know what the Government is going to do to resource this hospital to make sure they deliver hospital services properly," he said.