Safety at motor event questioned after death

By Imran Ali

1 comment
Samantha Body-Mouat
Samantha Body-Mouat

An accident and emergency nurse has queried the standard of medical care given to a dying teenager immediately after she crashed in a Northland demolition derby.

Northland coroner Brandt Shortland is hearing evidence in Whangarei at an inquest into the Kaikohe death of Tauranga student Samantha Body-Mouat, 15, after she crashed a car into a concrete wall on April 3, 2010.

She was competing in the Easter Stampede and Demolition Derby at Kaikohe Speedway.

Mr Shortland was told yesterday that there were no St John Ambulance staff at the event, after a communication mix-up. There was also no first aid kit on site, he heard.

Yesterday, Samantha's family questioned the lack of medical staff at the derby, and also queried the removal of her crashed mini stock car from the accident scene by a race organiser.

Samantha's mother Lisa Strydom, grandfather Les Bloxham and uncle Emerson Weston were among those that questioned witnesses.

Mr Weston read a statement from Wendy Clark, a registered nurse in the accident and emergency department at Tauranga Hospital, who was at the race that Samantha crashed in.

Ms Clark's husband had asked bystanders if there was anyone with medical expertise in the crowd and someone replied "no".

Ms Clark said she suggested to an unidentified person at the crash scene that Samantha should be removed from the car so she could be treated but her suggestion was declined.

"I watched her bleed to death basically," Ms Clark said in her statement.

Ms Clark was horrified that Samantha's helmet and neck brace were removed - an action that went against medical protocol.

Debbie Beadle, secretary of Kaikohe Speedway at the time of the crash, said St John paramedics had been booked and checks were made as to their availability five times before the event.

However, she said an administrative change by St John that required bookings to be made from Auckland was not notified to the race organisers.

Anthony Taylor, one of the organisers, said all drivers were informed a day before the races that there would not be any ambulance on site - something that was disputed by Ms Strydom.

Ms Strydom said people went into a panic after her daughter's crash and everything was a "shambles".

Ms Strydom said she'd have to live with the fact that there was no ambulance, first aid kit, neck brace or breathing tube on site.

Her family also questioned Mr Taylor's decision to remove Samantha's vehicle after the crash and strongly disputed his observation that it had a "frayed accelerator".

Mr Taylor said the vehicle was removed after the organisers were told by police and the Department of Labour that there was no reason for them to impound it.

The inquest continues today.

- Northern Advocate

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