Coroner to examine woman’s death after heart scan organised by her employer

The coroner will examine the death of a Melbourne mother who died after a heart scan organised by her employer.

Peta Hickey had an anaphylactic reaction to contrast dye injected as part of a CT scan of her heart in May 2019. She died eight days later.

Peta Hickey’s death is before the coroner.

The coroner will examine why that particular heart procedure was arranged by her employer, who affixed the doctor’s signature to Ms Hickey’s referral, and what considerations, if any, were given to possible risks associated with the program.

The 43-year-old, who had no medical history of cardiac problems, had the scan at the suggestion of her employer, Programmed Skilled Workforce Limited, which had launched a testing regime for all senior staff after a colleague suffered a near-fatal cardiac arrest while on a work trip to Japan in 2018.

The company said the program was voluntary, but the coroner was told on Thursday that the mother-of-two’s referral was signed by a doctor she had never met and did not include any medical history.

Ms Hickey was given an injection of contrast dye as part of a CT scan at Future Medical Imaging Group at Moonee Ponds.

Soon after the dye was administered, she complained of dizziness and shortness of breath before losing consciousness, the inquest was told.

She was taken to the Royal Melbourne Hospital’s intensive care ward where she died eight days later.

An autopsy later revealed her cause of death was multiple organ failure and anaphylactic reaction.

A three-week inquest into the death began on Thursday and is expected to hear from more than 20 witnesses including medical experts and staff who were present on the day of her scan.

More to come

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