Matthew Russo, 37, died after being sent home by two different doctors on January 6, 2015.
Matthew Russo, 37, died after being sent home by two different doctors on January 6, 2015.

Two doctors acted appropriately in fatal case, inquest hears

AN INDEPENDENT doctor reviewing the practices of two GPs found their treatment plans for a patient who died within 21 hours of seeking medical attention were "reasonable".

Matthew Russo, 37, was suffering from flu-like symptoms when he was sent home with a cough suppressant by Dr Seyedfakhroddin Sajadi, then a GP at the Upper Ross Medical Centre on January 2, 2015.

Mr Russo was coughing up blood and suffering from pneumonia when he saw a different GP, Dr Edel Garcia Monteagudo at the Pinnacle Medical Centre on January 5, 2015, who prescribed him antibiotics and sent him home.

He was dead within 21 hours, on January 6, 2015.

Dr Christopher Pitt of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners told the Townsville Coroner's Court yesterday, the standard of assessment produced by Dr Sajadi was "certainly reasonable given the information presented to him".

"Mr Russo's presentation on the 2nd sounded very much like a very common presentation of the upper respiratory tract infection that the average GP would see 15-20 times a day," Dr Pitt said.

"And it's certainly a very unusual outcome for someone presenting that way to them to pass four days later … it would be hard to predict, I think impossible to predict possibly."

Dr Pitt told the court both of the doctors who treated Mr Russo should have documented his symptoms and vital signs better than they did.

The court heard neither doctor had recorded Mr Russo's vital signs, or his temperature.

Mr Russo's friend Shantel Rickard was with him when he died in her Kelso home, and had taken him to the doctor the day before he died.

Under cross-examination by Dr Garcia Monteagudo's barrister David Schneidewin, Ms Rickard maintained that when she took Mr Russo to the doctor on January 5, 2015, he had a white towel with blood and phlegm on it.

Ms Rickard also said she accompanied Mr Russo into his consultation with Dr Garcia Monteagudo on that same day.

Dr Garcia Monteagudo told the court he didn't recall the white towel or Ms Rickard in the room.

Ms Rickard said throughout the day leading up to Mr Russo's death, he was very lethargic and appeared ill, continuing to cough up blood.

She was woken up on January 6, 2015 after hearing the laboured breathing of Mr Russo, who was staying in her home at the time.

Ms Rickard immediately called triple-0, with Mr Russo dying shortly after.

The coronial inquest into the death of Mr Russo continues before Coroner Nerida Wilson today.