Coronial probe into death at Mackay Base Hospital

AN INVESTIGATION is under way into an alleged incident at Mackay Base Hospital following the death of a patient two days after an operation.

A spokeswoman for the Coroners Court confirmed a 66-year-old woman died on September 8 this year after she had an operation at the hospital on September 6.

It is unknown at this stage what incident occurred during the operation.

Mackay police responded to a death at the hospital on September 8 and are preparing a report for the Coroner.

"The death of a 66-year-old woman … following an alleged incident while a patient in an operating theatre at Mackay Base Hospital … has been reported to the Coroner for Central Queensland," the Coroners Court spokeswoman said.

"The investigation into the woman's death is ongoing and the Coroner is not yet in a position to decide whether the matter will proceed to an inquest."

Mackay Hospital and Health Service chief executive Jo Whitehead has also called for the findings of an internal investigation into the death to be independently reviewed.

"Any unexpected death in a healthcare facility is always fully investigated internally and externally by the Queensland Police and the Coroner," Ms Whitehead said.

"On this occasion I have also asked for the findings of our internal investigation to be independently reviewed by clinicians from outside the health service."

Ms Whitehead said any death was a tragedy and the hospital was supporting the family in their grief.

"I'd like to express my deepest sympathy to the family on behalf of the hospital and health service," she said.

"We have offered our support to family members, as well as our staff who are also affected by this loss.

"It would be inappropriate for me to comment further while these investigations are taking place."

The length of time a coronial investigation takes depends on a variety of matters including the complexity of the issues involved.

This matter remains under coronial investigation.