Coroner apologises for autopsy distress to Mackay family
THE Office of the State Coroner has expressed regret for distress caused to Mackay's Ingledew family by an autopsy delay.
But the government has stopped short of committing to changes to ensure autopsies can be done in Mackay.
The Daily Mercury yesterday reported that Paul Ingledew had feared the body of his son Paul Ingledew Jnr would not be returned in time for a funeral being held today.
There had been a hold-up as an autopsy needed to be performed in Rockhampton or Townsville and had been delayed because pathologists in both centres were off sick.
An autopsy was eventually done in Rockhampton nearly 10 days after the death and just in time for the funeral.
"Autopsies are conducted in as timely a manner as possible," the spokesman said.
"However, timeframes are determined by the availability of appropriately qualified medical personnel.
"Autopsies must be performed by a trained and qualified pathologist.
"There have been no such pathologists available in Mackay for some time and, therefore, autopsies originating from the Mackay area are usually conducted in Rockhampton."
Member for Mackay Tim Mulherin said his thoughts and prayers went out to the Ingledew family.
"It's now up to the Health Minister to act and appoint a full-time pathologist to the Mackay Base Hospital," he said.
"In the past autopsies and pathologies were contracted out to a private provider based in Mackay.
"As I understand it, Queensland Health did not renew this contract on the basis they were to appoint a pathologist at the new hospital.
"An important resource town like Mackay should have a pathologist based here to conduct autopsies."