A sick man whose sudden death was deemed preventable was turned away from several Adelaide hospitals and told to “stop causing drama” in his final days, an inquest has heard.
Father-of-two Hemant Chadha, 38, died of acute to chronic pneumonia at home in the early hours of April 23, 2020, after making several trips to the hospital.
His widow, Prabhleen Chadha, recalled harrowing details at an inquest on Tuesday, explaining how her distraught husband had returned home from hospital crying because paramedics had treated him badly and told him to be “a man”.
The inquest, which began earlier this month, is examining the deaths of Chadha and another Adelaide man, Sachintha Nandula Battagodage.
Mr. Battagodage died of acute hemothorax due to a ruptured pseudoaneurysm of the right subclavian artery after presenting to hospital several times after vomiting blood.
At one point, hospital staff sent him home and recommended he take paracetamol.
The inquest has found both deaths would have been prevented if Adelaide health staff had not fired the men.
Father-of-two Hemant Chadha died two days after paramedics told him to “man up” on April 20 (file image)
At the opening of the inquest on February 13, coroner Emma Roper heard how Chadha suffered serious symptoms, including abdominal pain, fever and cough, in early April 2020.
A few weeks later, on April 17, he was taken by ambulance to the Royal Adelaide Hospital’s emergency department after experiencing difficulty breathing, dizziness and vomiting.
A chest X-ray revealed the father of two had pneumonia, he was given antibiotics and discharged.
Three days later, on April 20, an ambulance was called to a GP surgery in Hollywood Plaza, in the city’s north, after Chadha’s health deteriorated.
Mrs Chadha recalled that two ambulance officers were “very rude” when they arrived at the scene and mocked her for asking for her husband to be given a wheelchair and the paramedics asked her: “How did he get here? He crawled?”.
Chadha underwent a second X-ray, but was discharged from the hospital after he showed apparent improvement in his condition.
Hours later, Mrs Chadha called another ambulance after her husband’s health rapidly deteriorated.
He claimed the same two ambulance officers from the previous day attended and told the patient to “man up” and asked him “why are you causing all this drama?”
‘Then he [the paramedic] turned towards him [Mr Chadha] and said ‘naughty, naughty, you’re naughty,'” he said, Adelaide Advertiser reported.
“Then he did mention to me ‘if you want, we can take him to the hospital so he can sleep well because it’s bothering you a lot.’
‘The way he [Mr Chadha] He was looking at me in a very helpless way.
An inquest into the deaths of Chadha and Sachintha Nandula Battagodage (pictured with her partner) would have been avoidable if they had received better care in Adelaide hospitals.
Chadha was taken to Lyell McEwin Hospital, where he was given anti-anxiety medication and discharged.
Mrs Chadha told the inquest that her husband returned home crying after being abused by hospital staff.
“We call an ambulance to ask for help, we do not call an ambulance to be abused or humiliated,” he said.
Unfortunately, Mr. Chadha’s repeated belittling by hospital staff and paramedics made him no longer willing to go to the hospital.
On the night of April 22, his desperate wife tried to get a substitute, a temporary healthcare worker, to come help her husband, but none were available.
Her husband prevented her from calling an ambulance for fear of being humiliated again.
Mrs Chadha woke up at 4.45am the next morning to find that her husband was cold to the touch.
He called an ambulance but the paramedics could do nothing.
Chadha was declared dead at 5.04 am
His autopsy found the cause of death to be acute-to-chronic pneumonia, an abrupt and life-threatening worsening of the disease.
According to the investigation, if Chadha had been admitted to hospital on April 21, his sudden deterioration would probably have been detected and his death would have been prevented.
Mrs Chadha said his death not only had a devastating effect on her but also on her two children, aged seven and 14.
“We miss him so much, every moment of every day… I miss him all the time,” she said.
The investigation continues.