Western Australian police told hospital staff they thought an Aboriginal woman who later died in custody was “faking it”, a coronial inquest has heard.
Ms Dhu, 22, died in August last year after being held at the South Hedland police station in WA’s Pilbara region for unpaid fines totalling $3,622.
She was taken to the Hedland Health Campus three times during her detention after saying she felt unwell.
Ms O’Brien said unbeknown to the people caring for her, by her second visit Ms Dhu was in the process of dying from septicaemia and pneumonia.
The court heard police handcuffed Ms Dhu and took her to the health campus where she “immediately went limp, slumped into the chair and her head and eyes rolled back”.
According to the opening address, nurse Caroline Jones recalled that police officers told them Ms Dhu “was faking it” shortly before she went to cardiac arrest and died.
On the morning of her death, Ms Dhu was recorded on CCTV footage vomiting in the jail cell and falling backwards and hitting her head on concrete floor.
She died on her third visit.