The Coroner spearheading the inquest into the 2009 death of a fan at Big Day Out Perth will be visiting the event on Monday to take note of the festival’s operations. According to the Western Australian, Dominic Mulligan will be inspecting BDO’s entry procedures, first aid facilities, and other relevant services set up for the expected 40,000-strong crowd.
At a hearing yesterday, the inquest heard that the St Johns Ambulance presence will be greatly increased from what it was in 2009. SJA have also updated plans for the event, which now include briefing their volunteer staff on the correct procedure for suspected drug overdose cases – something not provided for staff in 2009.
The first-aid services roster for the day will include three paramedics, a registered nurse at each of the five first-aid posts, as well as dozens of first-aid volunteers roaming the grounds.
This is in strong contrast to the 2009 event, which had no SJA staff present, with only 3 interstate paramedics (contracted externally by BDO) stationed at the rear of the mosh pit. SJA clinical services director Professor Ian Jacobs admits that mistakes were made in 2009 that led to the teenager leaving First-Aid prematurely after convincing staff she was over 18, and therefore legally allowed to do so.
Thoms later collapsed, and died.
Big Day Out had only been scored as a ‘medium-risk’ event, according to the SJA’s risk assessment records. The coroner will argue that its status should be raised to ‘high-risk’
Professor Jacobs suggested a code of insisting patients wait for further observation, or risk being ejected from the event.