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Inquest into Qld rheumatic heart disease

The Queensland Coroners Court will investigate the deaths of three Indigenous women with rheumatic heart disease in Queensland’s northwest.

The women – aged 17, 18 and 37 – were reportedly given painkillers and sent home from the Doomadgee Hospital in the state’s northwest. They later died after being turned away by the emergency department, ABC’s Four Corners says.

An investigation will be undertaken by the Queensland government’s health service alongside the coronial inquest from the Coroners Court.

A representative for the Coroners Court of Queensland confirmed the inquest into the deaths of Yvette Booth, Adele Diamond and Shakaya George will be held from 18 July in the Cairns Magistrates Court.

A pre-inquest conference date is yet to be confirmed but will probably be in June.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said her government will also probe the deaths alongside the Northwest Hospital and Health Service.

“The Health Minister has raised this with me. We know there have been some tragic cases and our thoughts are with the families of those loved ones,” the premier said on Tuesday.

One of the women was supposed to receive weekly check-ups and urgent surgery but instead was forced to visit the hospital’s emergency department 12 times in less than two months seeking pain relief, the ABC program says.

The government has pledged $7.3 million in funding as part of a new strategy to target RHD in First Nations communities, but Liberal National Party leader David Crisafulli labelled the treatment of the women a national disgrace.

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