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Grieving family say State has stalled writ
Grieving family say State has stalled writ

The family of a teenager who died after his tonsillitis was not treated properly at a WA country hospital have vowed to continue their battle for justice.

They plan to renew court action for compensation after the release of an independent investigation yesterday.

Jim Watmore, the father of 17-year-old Kieran Watmore, who died at Albany Hospital in August 2008, has been locked in a battle with the WA Health Department since a damning 2009 coronial inquest into his son's death.

Speaking from his Albany home after a separate Health and Disability Services Complaints Office report into the death was released yesterday, Mr Watmore said the family was now looking for a final form of justice to move on.

The death had torn them apart and "at times came close to destroying me", he said.

"Dealing with the Health Department over the past three years has been, for Helen (Soerink, Kieran's mother) and me, difficult and challenging.

"They made promises to the family after adverse publicity surrounded events leading to Kieran's death and then almost disappeared off the radar.

"Until the Health Department or State Solicitor's Office deal with this, our family will continue to hurt."

State Coroner Alastair Hope labelled the death preventable, declaring systemic deficiencies and a failure by nursing staff led to the tragedy.

His report triggered a raft of changes at the hospital, which were documented in the report released yesterday.

Mr Watmore's lawyer Carmelo Grasso said a writ was issued last August against a number of parties employed by the Health Department, but the Attorney-General had failed to respond since the State Solicitor's Office declared a desire to negotiate.

He said a writ would be served by the end of the month if the Government failed to communicate.

The office of new Attorney- General Michael Mischin said it could not comment until the case had been researched.

Health Minster Kim Hames said he expected the Watmore family to seek compensation but that was a matter for the State Solicitor's Office.

Mr Hames said he was happy with the Government's response to the recommendations relating to Albany hospital.

"We've gone into this doing a full investigation," he said.

Mr Watmore said he was content with the comprehensive report into his son's death.

"Albany Hospital has still a long way to go but it is clearly moving in the right direction - towards being a safe facility," he said.

He said the family hoped to have all outstanding matters surrounding his son's death finished this year.