Distressing audio of a phone call between a domestic violence victim who was about to die and an Ambulance Victoria paramedic has been released by a court.
On the second day of the Kylie Cay inquest on Tuesday, the Coroners Court of Victoria heard Jarrod Freckleton tell Ms Cay that an ambulance wasn’t coming as she moaned in pain.
Ms Cay had been bashed by her partner Justin Turner four days before the phone call in an attack that included him hitting her feet with a hammer and fracturing her ribs.
Turner was later convicted of manslaughter after Ms Cay died of her injuries.
After being discharged from hospital on June 20, 2016, the Port Fairy woman asked a friend to call triple-0 and request an ambulance because she was in pain and having difficulty breathing.
An autopsy later found her spleen had ruptured after she was discharged from hospital.
But the inquest heard Ambulance Victoria downgraded the call and cancelled the ambulance dispatch, triggering a call from a triage worker – Mr Freckleton – instead.
In the audio of the call the court heard Mr Freckleton ask the 44-year-old the same questions she had already answered to the triple-0 operator.
She told him her ribs were broken from a domestic violence incident and she had been discharged from hospital that day.
“I can barely hold that phone,” she said.
“Can somebody please hurry up?
“I’m about to go unconscious, mate.”
He asked her why she was about to go unconscious.
“From the pain,” she said.
Throughout the call, Ms Cay is heard making moaning sounds.
Her voice sounds anguished.
The triple-0 operator had already told her help was on its way.
But Mr Freckleton is heard telling her, “Our recommendation is you need to see a doctor in the next four hours.
“For this you don’t need an emergency ambulance,” he said.
“I do,” she said.
“You don’t,” he said.
The inquest heard he told her the cost of an ambulance would only be covered in an emergency, and her situation was “not considered a medical emergency”.
“Are you f…ing kidding me?” she said.
He told her to make her own way to hospital.
She replied that she didn’t have any money for a taxi.
“You don’t understand, there’s no one to take me,” she said.
The call disconnected, and Mr Freckleton told the court on Tuesday he did not have the capacity to call her back.
He did not dispatch an ambulance.
She was found dead in her home the following afternoon.
Mr Freckleton told the court he “would do things differently” if he had his time again, considering he now had the knowledge that she “subsequently died”.
He said Ambulance Victoria had changed some protocols since Ms Cay’s death.
He said it was now Ambulance Victoria’s policy to pay for a taxi to hospital if a patient could not afford it and was judged as not needing an ambulance.
He said that at the time he was “applying the appropriate protocol”.
“Based on the information that Ms Cay gave me, the situation was not urgent according to the triage guidelines,” he said.
Mr Freckleton told the court he was now a clinical instructor and intermittent team manager with Ambulance Victoria.
A previous court heard that Ms Cay hid in a dog kennel to escape from her partner the night he inflicted the injuries on her that would take her life.
The coronial inquest is investigating if her death was preventable and is examining policies of Ambulance Victoria and Corrections Victoria.
Originally published as ‘Can hardly breathe’: Woman’s horror call