23 Sep 2008

Inquest findings into Mangere death due today

10:56 am on 23 September 2008

The Coroner's findings into the death of a Mangere woman will be issued on Tuesday.

Mrs Folole Muliaga, 45, died on 29 May, 2007, after the electricity supply to her home was disconnected, preventing the use of her oxygen machine.

The power to her house was disconnected by Mercury Energy, due to an unpaid bill of $168.40. Mercury Energy is the retail arm of State owned Mighty River Power.

An inquest into Mrs Muliaga's death was held in July and 35 pages of findings by Coroner Gordon Matenga are due to be issued at midday.

The inquest lasted two weeks long and heard from 20 witnesses. They included an ambulance officer, the contractor who cut off the power and members of the Muliaga family.

The findings will determine whether Mrs Muliaga's death was linked to Mercury Energy shutting off the power supply.

But it's also likely to contain criticism of some of the parties involved in looking after her before she died.

During the inquest, the court heard there was uncertainty as to whether Mrs Muliaga's family was fully informed about the seriousness of her health and her care requirements.

Family say they did not know Mrs Muliaga's medical records stated she was not to be resuscitated if her heart stopped.

The Coroner has indicated he will be commenting in his report on that failure.

The inquest was told that Mrs Muliaga died of complications due to her morbid obesity and the disconnection contributed to her death.

Family view

A lawyer for the Muliaga family of South Auckland woman hopes the findings will bring what she calls a 'David and Goliath battle' to an end.

Olinda Woodroffe told Nine to Noon that the family will be looking to the findings for lessons that will prevent anyone else having to go through such suffering.

She said key issues will be around a call by Mr Muliaga to Mercury Energy offering to pay the money owing and a Middlemore Hospital order to not resuscitate Mrs Muliaga if her condition deteriorated.