21 Jun 2012

Power company not at fault in death - coroner

9:39 am on 21 June 2012

A coroner has cleared Contact Energy of any blame in the death of a teenager when an interruption to power supply cut off his breathing machine.

Wayne Haaima died in 2010 in Palmerston, North Otago, after a power failure at the nearby substation.

The 18-year-old suffered from a severe form of muscular dystrophy and was fully dependent on the ventilator.

His parents failed to wake up to the alarm from the machine when the power was cut, and Mr Haaima died in his sleep.

Coroner David Crerar found no fault with power company Contact Energy. He recommended back-up ventilators be provided by the Southern District Health Board to patients in similar circumstances.

The recommendation is also being considered by other district health boards.