The Acute Mental Health Unit at the Townsville Hospital. Photo: Cameron Laird.
The Acute Mental Health Unit at the Townsville Hospital. Photo: Cameron Laird.

Nurse who ordered restraint faces inquest

THE lead nurse who authorised the restraint of a Townsville Hospital mental health patient who died during the incident, told staff the "time for negotiation was over".

Nurse Gillian Collier was the clinical lead the night Charters Towers man Taare Tamakehu Rangi, 44, died on July 7, 2018, in the acute mental health unit.

Under cross examination on the second day of the coronial inquest, Ms Collier said she had called the psychiatric registrar Dr James Noon at 8.14pm, to receive a phone order to administer an intramuscular injection of lorazepam to Mr Rangi, who would be declared dead about 9.05pm.

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After receiving approval from Dr Noon, Ms Collier called the health security officers to accompany nurse Bincymole Shiju to forcibly administer lorazepam to Mr Rangi.

Ms Collier told the court another nurse asked if he could try to negotiate again with Mr Rangi to voluntary take his medication, and she replied "the time for negotiation was over".

Ms Collier said she told the team that was going to forcibly administer the injection that Mr Rangi should not be placed in the prone position on his stomach because of his morbid obesity, and should only be placed on his side or in a seated position.

Northern Coroner Nerida Wilson remarked to nurse Collier "I'm not able to join the dots between Mr Rangi's alleged behaviour … and what I've actually seen on screen".

Counsel assisting the coroner Andrew Luchich played the CCTV footage several minutes in the lead up to the restraint of Mr Rangi, and asked Ms Collier whether he was displaying behaviour that would warrant a physical restraint.

"We don't see him rushing around the unit … we don't see him gesticulating with his hands, raising his arms in a threatening manner, we don't see him harassing staff do we?" Mr Luchich said.

Ms Collier replied that Mr Rangi wasn't displaying escalating behaviour in the vision, but had become "verbally aggressive" with staff that same day, and earlier was seen looking into the bedroom of a younger female patient through a glass window.

Ms Collier agreed under the hospital's policies, physical restraint was always the last resort, and Mr Rangi posed no imminent threat to staff, himself or other patients.

Mr Luchich referred back to the nurse's notes which were signed off about 6.34pm that same night, and asked why she hadn't included his "aggressive" behaviour in them.

Ms Collier said that she just hadn't updated the digital document to include the "combative behaviour" being displayed by Mr Rangi.

"I hit the wrong key," she said.