David McNaught leaving the Rockhampton Coroners Court after taking the witness stand in his mother’s inquest.
David McNaught leaving the Rockhampton Coroners Court after taking the witness stand in his mother’s inquest. Emma McBryde

Why did my mother die?

DAVID McNaught was never given a real opportunity to say goodbye to his mother.

He blames Rockhampton Hospital for that.

And for not giving his family any answers as to why she died five days after routine surgery to remove her gall bladder.

When Mr McNaught took to the witness stand on the first day of the inquest into Judith McNaught's death yesterday in the Rockhampton Coroners Court, the memories came flooding back.

He spoke of finding his 69-year-old mother in the intensive care unit of Rockhampton Hospital after routine surgery and "so bloated her tongue was sticking out of her mouth and unconscious".

Mr McNaught said he and his family were not aware she had been moved to the intensive care unit until his sister went to deliver some clothes to the hospital for their mother.

The family were later told by ICU staff that the mother-of-three was "on her way out", Mr McNaught said.

He said his brother travelled for two days from an offshore oil rig and two of his mother's sisters travelled up from New South Wales.

Mr McNaught described how his mother lasted for about an hour after her sisters arrived before she passed away.

"My mother went in for a routine procedure and never came out," he said.

"Our requests for information and an explanation about what went wrong have been ignored by the hospital.

"We want to know why my mother was left unobserved for such an extraordinary period of time and how such a fit and healthy lady can die after such a routine procedure.

Mr McNaught said his mother would swim from 60 to 70 laps in the pool during summer and practised Tai Chi.

He said she endeavoured to remain healthy, never drinking or smoking, so she could be around to "enjoy her twilight years".

"This is not about compensation," Mr McNaught said.

"We don't want to see another family go through what we have endured."

He said he personally blamed the hospital, but the ultimate decision of who to blame was in Coroner Annette Hennessy's hands.



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