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Monash Health charged over Indigenous woman’s hospital death

Dechlan Brennan -

WARNING: This story contains the name of an Aboriginal person who has passed.

Victoria's largest public health service is facing a criminal charge relating to the death of an Aboriginal woman who died whilst receiving treatment in 2022.

Palawa woman Ashleigh-Sue Chatters was 22 when she took her own life at Dandenong hospital on 25 February, four days after being admitted to the facilities' psychiatric unit after contacting the police, Guardian Australia reported.

On Thursday, WorkSafe Victoria announced it had charged Monash Health - the operators of the hospital - with allegedly exposing a patient to both health and safety risks whilst in their care.

"Monash Health is facing a single charge under section 23(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act for failing to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons other than employees were not exposed to health and safety risks," a WorkSafe statement said.

The matter is listed for a filing hearing at the Melbourne magistrates court on 13 March.

It is the second time in 13 months Monash Health have been charged under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. In 2015, a patient took their life whilst receiving treatment in the acute mental health unit at Casey Hospital in Berwick. That case will next be heard at the Victorian County Court on 4 March.

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