The family of an Albany teenager who died after being incorrectly treated for tonsillitis has received an out-of-court settlement from the Department of Health after a two-and-a-half-year legal battle for compensation.
State Coroner Alastair Hope found 17-year-old Kieran Watmore’s death at Albany Hospital in 2008 was preventable and said systematic deficiencies and a failure by nursing staff led to the tragedy.
The Watmore family abandoned court action against the State Government earlier this year in the hope of reaching an out of court settlement.
However, there had been fears the grieving family would face a further wait if settlement was not reached before the Government went into caretaker mode.
The settlement was finalised on February 5, just one day shy of caretaker provisions kicking in.
Kieran’s father, Jim Watmore, said the legacy of his son’s death was a hospital the people of Albany could start to have faith in again.
“We feel the circumstances that led to Keiran’s death probably will never be repeated,” Mr Watmore said.
“In effect, we have a safer hospital here in Albany and it’s a hospital this community can start to have confidence in.”
The review of procedures after Kieran’s death meant the hospital now had “a 24/7 doctor on site”, Mr Watmore said.
He said the compensation payment, the details of which he was unable to disclose, was also recognition of the tireless advocacy by his family to effect change in the way health care was delivered in the region and State.
Mr Watmore thanked Health Minister Kim Hames but said the journey had been “strenuous and difficult” and the family were thankful their battle for answers was finally over.
“Our family got a life sentence. We face a lifetime of immeasurable sadness and loss, nothing can compensate for that,” he said.
“Kieran will always be part of our family and that will never change, nor will the circumstances that led to a catastrophic event ever be forgotten.”
The Department of Health has confirmed the compensation settlement.