Why did Leah Floyd die? Heartbreaking inquest ends

Sunshine Coast mother Leah Floyd, whose death was the subject of a coronial inquest.
Sunshine Coast mother Leah Floyd, whose death was the subject of a coronial inquest. Contributed

THE death of a quadriplegic Sunshine Coast mother followed a tragic combination of events and should not be blamed on a single person or organisation, Queensland's Deputy Coroner has found.

Leah Floyd, 48, received spinal fractures after falling from a balcony during a celebration in August 2012.

Diagnosed with tetraplegia, she spent 12 months in Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital where she developed pressure wounds from long periods of being bedridden.

An inquest into her death heard she also suffered from ongoing depression and anxiety.

For several weeks Ms Floyd received mental health support from community-based organisation BE Lifestyle and wound care from Blue Care Nursing.

At one stage she was admitted to Nambour Hospital amid concerns she was suicidal but was later released.

RELATED: Why did Sunshine Coast mum have to die?

The inquest heard that on October 8, 2013, Ms Floyd was unwell but delayed going to the hospital because she did not want to miss a contact meeting with her children. By the time she was admitted, she was septic and the condition ultimately claimed her life two days later. 

Releasing his findings in Brisbane on Thursday, Deputy Queensland Coroner John Lock said that in hindsight, BE Lifestyle may not have been the right placement for Ms Floyd as it was clear her emotional needs were not met by management.

He noted however that once that was recognised, Disability Services arranged alternative accommodation and provided her with "excellent support".

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Coroner Lock said that while there was room for improvement, he believed the overall decisions made by Blue Care were appropriate.

He also said he was satisfied Blue Care had "demonstrated a genuine concern to improve practices for the future".

He had no concern about the care she had received at the Nambour Hospital.

Noting Ms Floyd's well documented fear of hospitals, her mistrust of some of her care providers and her desire to be with the children she had not seen in six weeks, Coroner Lock said "all these factors and decisions played a significant part" in Ms Floyd's death.

RELATED: Coroner warns carer over mum death inquest evidence

He said while it was clear that the earlier treatment started, the better the outcome, it would never be known whether early intervention would have changed the outcome for Ms Floyd.

He found the cause of death to be sepsis with "multifactorial contributions".

Mr Lock said he would have considered recommending that BE Lifestyles be audited in relation to its compliance with the Human Services Quality Standard had the organisation not gone into liquidation.

He said he was otherwise satisfied that Blue Care was addressing any identified shortcomings.

He ordered the inquest be closed and offered his condolences to Ms Floyd's family.

Topics:  coroner's court inquest

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