Festival Director Tells Coroner Deaths 'Marked Him'
The director of Sydney electronic music festival Defqon.1 has told a coroner he did not speak to the medical contractor about the doctors who would be provided.
The director of a Sydney music festival said he did not speak to a contracted medical services company about the doctors who would be there and their past experience, an inquest has heard.
Simon Coffey, from Q-dance which runs Defqon.1 festival, was on Wednesday asked by counsel assisting Peggy Dwyer whether he'd "relied entirely" on director Mike Hammond from Event Medical Services.
"Yes, like I had done every year," Coffey testified at the NSW Coroners Court in Lidcombe.
EMS were contracted by Q-dance to provide medical staff at Defqon.1 from 2016.
Diana Nguyen, 21, and Joseph Pham, 23, both died after ingesting drugs at the 10th anniversary of the electronic music festival at the Sydney International Regatta Centre in September 2018.
"It was a freak situation and it was absolutely devastating and it's marked me and it's marked a lot of people who are involved in running the company," Coffey said.
"There were two others (fatalities) in the past - one in 2013 and one in 2015." He said he did not speak to Hammond about the number of doctors who would be provided at the sold-out 2018 event or their previous training.
The court on Tuesday heard there were two doctors, one from EMS and a more senior doctor from Medical Response Australia, to look after 30,000 people.
The junior EMS doctor was caring for asthma attack and drug psychosis patients when Pham arrived at the medical tent and Nguyen was carried in minutes later.
Deputy State Coroner Harriet Grahame is examining the drug-related deaths of six young people at NSW music festivals between December 2017 and January 2019.
Nathan Tran, Callum Brosnan, Joshua Tam and Alexandra Ross-King also died from MDMA toxicity or complications of MDMA use. They were aged between 18 and 23.
Coffey said one doctor per 1000 patrons, "if not more", and additional roving medical officers were planned for the future.
He said "since the tragedies that happened throughout summer" NSW Health has proposed initiatives including ensuring the right number of medics and looking after all critical care patients.
But Coffey said Defqon.1 will not go ahead in 2019 after the venue, near Penrith, withdrew from hosting the event.
He believes Nguyen's and Pham's deaths are the reason for this decision.
"At this stage, we have just put all of our events on hold until the findings of this coronial inquest come out."
He suggested Australia mimic harm reduction methods used in The Netherlands, such as pill testing, which has a "100 times bigger" music festival industry but very few fatalities.