An inquest into Kenneth John McMurtrie’s death at Gracehaven nursing home, pictured, began yesterday.
An inquest into Kenneth John McMurtrie’s death at Gracehaven nursing home, pictured, began yesterday.

Inquest into death at nursing home

THE death of a man at a Bundaberg nursing home will be investigated after two different medical reports did not satisfy the coroner that the 55-year-old died of natural causes.

A coronial inquest into Kenneth John McMurtrie’s death on November 29 last year, at Gracehaven Lutheran Nursing Home, began yesterday at Bundaberg Coroner’s Court.

Coroner Jennifer Batts said she had called the inquest after reading medical reports by Dr Kennelene Pagel, who treated Mr Murtrie, and pathologist Rosemary Ashby.

“My inability to reconcile the conclusions reached by them (in their reports) necessitates this inquest,” she said.

“It would be my intention to call those medical witnesses first to endeavour to find out what caused Mr McMurtrie’s death.”

The coroner said that if she could not reach a conclusion about Mr McMurtrie’s death after listening to the two doctors’ evidence she would call on the nursing home’s employees and the man’s family members.

None of the dead man’s family members were present in the court room at the opening of the inquest.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Barry Stevens handed over 11 items to the coroner, including an autopsy and toxicology report, an amended autopsy report, a death certificate and two three-page statements from Gracehaven nurses.

He said he was there to assist the coroner to find out the truth about what happened to Mr McMurtrie.

Dr Pagel’s solicitor listened in on proceedings on the telephone, and a nursing-home manager was also present for the inquest’s opening.

Ms Batts adjourned the proceedings until February 24 next year.



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