Coroner’s inquest launched into death of rising Manly Sea Eagles star Keith Titmuss

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“The Sea Eagles understand the coroner may conduct an inquest into the matter, but no date has been set for that.”

Statements from cardiologists, sports scientists, emergency physicians and various medical experts were also sought.

Paul, Keith’s father, his sister Zara, his mother Lafo, his brother Jesse and his nephew Hudson look through family photo albums as they reminisce about the life of their loved one.Credit:James Brickwood/Sydney Morning Herald

Titmuss’ family also underwent a series of medical examinations to determine if there is a genetic link associated with his death. It is understood the family have since been cleared of any genetic issues.

The initial autopsy provided no insight into Titmuss’ cause of death, while the toxicology report also showed no signs of drug use. His brain was also donated to the Australian Sports Brain Bank for further research.

Statements from club officials and Titmuss’ family will be provided in the coroner’s brief being prepared.

‘Officers from Northern Beaches Police Zone Command are preparing a report for the Coroner’s Information into the death of a 20-year-old man on Monday 23 November 2020,’ NSW Police said at Herald.

The Manly Sea Eagles honored Keith Titmuss by holding a memorial service at their training ground in Narrabeen last year.

The Manly Sea Eagles honored Keith Titmuss by holding a memorial service at their training ground in Narrabeen last year.Credit:Manly Sea Eagles Digital

For four months after Titmuss’ death, the family assumed the hospital had disabled their son’s life support system based on conversations with doctors that day.

“Why didn’t they give us the opportunity to say goodbye to him while he was still alive?” his grief-stricken mother Lafo Titmuss told the Herald Last year.

“Who made the decision to turn off the life support without consulting or asking Paul [Keith’s father] and me? I understood he was still alive when we got there.

Doctors worked for hours trying to resuscitate Titmuss but, despite all possible interventions, they were unable to recirculate his blood.

Gone, but never forgotten.  A tribute to Keith's life is displayed in the Austral family home.

Gone, but never forgotten. A tribute to Keith’s life is displayed in the Austral family home.Credit:James Brickwood

The director of medical services at the Royal North Shore Hospital, Philip Hoyle, then contacted Keith’s parents to clarify the events that took place before their son’s death.

Sources with knowledge of the situation told the Herald they think Titmuss died before life support was applied, rather than dying because the machine was turned off. An ECMO machine had replaced the function of his heart and lungs.

Roger Harris, a senior intensive care doctor at RNSH, who could not speak specifically about the case and was not involved in Titmuss’ care, said last year in circumstances as devastating as he was. there was no decision to be made.

“Depending on who you draw your strength from, it’s nature or God making those decisions in that context,” said Harris, who was treating another critical patient on the day Keith died.

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“In critical cases, around 25 staff members may be working to resuscitate a patient surrounded by a huge amount of equipment. A machine can pump the patient’s chest and ECMO [life support machine] uses tubes larger than a garden hose in the groin to bring blood to a shunt machine. In this incredibly confronting setting, there is often no moment of stability to stop and let the family in.

After Titmuss collapsed, paramedics rushed him to Northern Beaches Hospital, with former Manly player Matt Ballin in the ambulance relaying the information to the family.

Ballin then called the family, who were two miles from the hospital at the time, to inform them that Keith was being rushed to Royal North Shore Hospital.

The family are also investigating why paramedics initially took Titmuss to Northern Beaches Hospital before being redirected to a major hospital (RNSH) with the required equipment.

The family are awaiting a date to meet with the NSW Crown Prosecutor’s Office.

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