Call for inquest into Aboriginal man’s death hours after being discharged from hospital

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised this story contains images of a person who is deceased.

The family of a man who died just hours after being turned away from a regional New South Wales hospital are demanding an inquest.
Ricky “Dougie” Hampson Junior, 36, died in August last year. (Supplied)

Kamilaroi/Dunghutti man, Ricky “Dougie” Hampson Junior attended Dubbo Hospital in August 2021 with severe stomach pain, a highly elevated heart rate, and a “popping and tearing” sensation in his stomach.

His family claims Hampson was sedated and “given a cocktail of opioids and painkillers, monitored and discharged”.

“He was told by hospital staff to simply go home and drink water,” his father Rick Hampson Senior said.

“Within hours, our Dougie was pronounced dead.

“He would have survived if he had been examined properly.”

Hampson died after two perforated ulcers ruptured his stomach lining and bowel wall. He also tested positive for COVID-19 while in hospital care.

Hampson’s family is calling on NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman to support a coronial inquest into his death to answer questions about the health care response.

“We are urgently demanding a coronial inquest into why despite our son’s severe pain and critical presentation, Dougie was denied appropriate treatment and was discharged from Dubbo Hospital,” Hampson Senior said.

Dougie's father, Ricky Hampson Senior, calls for a coronial inquest.
Dougie’s father, Ricky Hampson Senior, calls for a coronial inquest. (9News)

“I can’t believe in Australia, someone as young as my son, could be denied proper care at a hospital and would die from a ruptured stomach ulcer.”

In a statement to 9News, Speakman responded to the family’s calls for an inquest.

“My thoughts are with Mr Hampson’s family,” Speakman said.

“This matter has been referred to the Coroner.

“The case remains under Coronial jurisdiction and, as such, I cannot make any further comment.”

A year on from Hampson’s death, his family grieves the loss of the 36-year-old father and grandfather.

“He was the light of any celebration. We are in a world of darkness now that he isn’t around, Hampson Senior said.

“No parent should outlive their child.”

The last photo of Ricky "Dougie" Hampson Junior leaving hospital before his death.
The last photo of Ricky “Dougie” Hampson Junior leaving hospital before his death. (9News)

NSW Greens MP Sue Higginson said the inquest will help prevent further deaths like Hampson’s.

“Until the truth is told and we understand and learn what tragically went so wrong, we can’t honestly prevent this from happening again,” she said.

Hampson’s death has been referred to the NSW Coroner who told 9News a decision will be made in “due course”.

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