Oxygen chamber clinic to keep trading despite patient death

The director of a health clinic where a man lost consciousness – dying five days later – still doesn’t have an important qualification, a court heard. Read on the Daily Telegraph

Malcolm Hooper, 61, intends to keep trading at Oxymed despite the death of a patient. Picture: Supplied

A severely disabled man lost consciousness inside an oxygen chamber while being treated and died, but a court has heard the clinic’s director still doesn’t have an Australian First Aid qualification

Malcolm Hooper’s lawyer told the County Court of Victoria on Tuesday he intends to continue to operate and pay off his impending fines through money made from his clinic, Oxymed.

Oxymed, previously called HyperMed, had stated on its now shutdown website it was used by Essendon players for its hyperbaric chamber treatments in 2012, and was used by tennis star Novak Djokovic in 2017.

Hooper, 61, was found guilty last month of two counts of failing to ensure a safe workplace and pleaded guilty to another after the death of Craig Dawson following a hyperbaric chamber treatment at Oxymed.

Hooper also on Tuesday pleaded guilty to two related minor charges: failure to notify WorkSafe Victoria of a reportable incident and failure to preserve a site after an incident.

Mr Dawson, a multiple sclerosis sufferer, lost consciousness inside a hyperbaric oxygen chamber on April 6, 2016.

He never woke up, dying five days later in hospital.

He could not walk, use his right arm or most of his left arm, and had poor eyesight and speech due to his multiple sclerosis when he entered the clinic on Chapel Street in South Yarra for his final act, an oxygen treatment.

There is “absolutely no evidence” in mainstream medicine in Australia that oxygen chambers work to treat multiple sclerosis, Judge Amanda Fox said.

But she said the real issue was whether or not Mr Dawson was adequately supervised when he was shut inside the pressurised chamber and pumped with oxygen.

She said Hooper, a former chiropractor, had previously been reprimanded by VCAT for unprofessional conduct for lax risk assessments when administering hyperbaric oxygen treatments.

He is also facing Federal Court action brought by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, alleging he falsely claimed oxygen chamber treatments could help against Covid-19, autism and cancer.

The court heard Hooper still did not have an Australian First Aid qualification.

Hooper is married with six children and one grandchild, with family business Oxymed being his source of income.

His lawyer Ashleigh Harrold said Hooper had gone to Mr Dawson’s funeral to give his family a card claiming he did not suffer.

“Of course, we now know that might not have been accurate,” she said.

She said Hooper and Oxymed still treated patients with severe disabilities including quadriplegia.

She said he “cared about his patients”, and that since being charged over Mr Dawson’s death, Hooper had installed cameras inside the chambers, set a rule of one supervisor per two patients inside the oxygen chambers at any one time, and used a digital system to assess patients’ suitability for treatment instead of paper.

Prosecutor Diana Karamicov said he showed “careless indifference” of risks to patients in the way he ran his clinic.

Hooper will be sentenced at a later date.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s