A Griffith doctor will keep his job despite sending a woman home to die

A Zimbabwean-trained doctor who works at Griffith Base Hospital has been reprimanded for fatally discharging a mother from hospital against her will.

In 2013, 42-year-old mother of two boys Trudy Davis was refused admission to Shellharbour Hospital, only to die of respiratory failure at her home hours later.

Late last week an inquiry found Dr George Chimpanda’s handling of Ms Davis’s condition was “significantly below the standard reasonably expected of a medical practitioner of his level of training and experience”. 

The Professional Standards Committee heard Ms Davis had called her mother, Karenne, and said her pleas for medical treatment had been denied.

Dr Chimpanda attempted to blame his catastrophic mistake on a busier than usual emergency department, but his medical notes proved he was content with the diagnosis and had no concern for Ms Davis’ health when she left.

Ms Davis had attended hospital for respiratory issues months earlier and was admitted. Dr Chimpanda, who studied medicine at the University of Zimbabwe, has been ordered to undertake an emergency medicine course with the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine by next October.

In the meantime, he will continue as a medical officer at the Griffith hospital.

Outside last week’s hearing Ms Davis’ father, Geoffrey, could not contain his grief.

“She fought tumours to stay alive, yet she was sent home where she died,” Mr Davis said.

Ms Davis’ mother Karenne was overcome by the “needless” death.

“She was the most giving, caring person; she lived for her children and her family,” Mrs Davis said.

Mr and Mrs Davis lifted the suppression of their daughter’s name in an effort to remind people she had a life beyond notations in the clinical record.

Acting chief executive for Murrumbidgee Local Health District Brett Thompson assured the public Dr Chimpanda would complete the required course, saying patient safety was a top priority for MLHD.