4 Jul 2013

Medical authorities defend prisoner's release

7:53 pm on 4 July 2013

Medical authorities are standing by a decision to discharge a patient from hospital to prison six days before he died.

Max Heselhurst died on 8 August last year. A convicted fraudster, he had been recalled to prison from parole. He suffered from a serious heart condition and other ailments for 11 years, and was morbidly obese.

The Coroners Court in Hamilton was told on Thursday of his family's concerns that he was left in a cell when prison authorities knew he was very ill.

The 57-year-old spent three days in prison before being readmitted to Waikato Hospital, where he died three days later.

A senior cardiologist at the hospital, Clyde Wade, told the court there was nothing more it could do and Heselhurst would receive good medical care at Waikeria Prison.

A member of the prison's medical staff said if they'd had any concerns about his condition on arrival at the jail, he would have been sent straight back.