Mother-of-two Leah Elizabeth Floyd, 48, died on the Sunshine Coast six weeks after being discharged from the Princess Alexandra Hospital's spinal injury unit.
Mother-of-two Leah Elizabeth Floyd, 48, died on the Sunshine Coast six weeks after being discharged from the Princess Alexandra Hospital's spinal injury unit. Contributed

OPINION: Tough questions bring chance to improve

HOW society treats its most vulnerable is a measure of its humanity.

That widely-used philosophy can apply to a range of demographics in our community, including children, the elderly, minority groups and the disabled.

A coroner's inquest into the death of Leah Floyd has given Sunshine Coast residents real-life insight into what can happen in our region should an able-bodied person end up requiring permanent care.

Mrs Floyd was in a Brisbane hospital for about a year after a fall from height in 2012 left her a quadriplegic.

Her rehabilitation progressed to a stage where it was determined she could return to the community by moving in August 2013 to a specialised care home run by BE Lifestyle at Yandina Creek.

She died less than six weeks later after a pressure sore on her lower back became septic.

Her needs were complex.

She was being treated for physical health and mental health issues.

The inquest has identified a number of concerns arising from her experiences in those six weeks, which included being admitted to Nambour General Hospital's psychiatric ward for a fortnight.

Coroner John Lock has indicated he will be focusing on the processes followed by BE Lifestyle and the Blue Care nurses charged with treating the pressure wound as well as the Princess Alexandra Hospital, the Nambour General Hospital and Disability Services Queensland.

Mr Lock has heard from 22 professionals involved in varying degrees with Mrs Floyd's care during her final weeks as well as three professionals who have reviewed the medical and nursing aspects of it.

It is clear that aspects of the systems in place to protect our most vulnerable are faulty.

Holding coroner's inquests shows a dedication to making them better.

The priority given to making that happen will be a measure of society's desire to improve.


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