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Former Socceroo Steve Herczeg died after catheter connected to oxygen

A former Socceroo died in hospital after his urinary catheter was wrongly connected to an oxygen supply, leading to his bladder bursting and collapsed lungs, a coroner has heard.

An inquest is being held into the death of Steve Herczeg at Adelaide’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital on September 19.

‘The coroner will hear that Mr Herczeg’s oxygen supply was incorrectly connected, resulting in his bladder inflating with oxygen, then bursting and his lungs collapsing from the pressure of the oxygen,’ counsel assisting Naomi Kereru told the South Australian Coroner’s Court on Monday.

Former Socceroo Steve Herczeg died in hospital after his urinary catheter (pictured is a similar one) was wrongly connected to an oxygen supply, leading to his bladder bursting, a coroner has heard

Former Socceroo Steve Herczeg died in hospital after his urinary catheter (pictured is a similar one) was wrongly connected to an oxygen supply, leading to his bladder bursting, a coroner has heard

The court heard Mr Herczeg, 72, who was the first South Australian to play for Australia in a FIFA World Cup qualifying match, was admitted to hospital because he had had a fall and was having hallucinations.

He was also suffering from a urinary tract infection, for which a catheter had already been inserted, but was considered clinically stable when admitted to the respiratory ward and placed on oxygen therapy, Ms Kereru said.

      Soon after his admission, a nurse heard screams of pain coming from Mr Herczeg’s room and a code blue was called. An emergency team attempted to resuscitate him but was unsuccessful.

      The doctor who performed the autopsy found Mr Herczeg’s bladder had ruptured and his lungs had collapsed, causing his death by ‘respiratory failure’.

      ‘I understand his oxygen supply somehow became connected to his catheter,’ forensic pathologist Stephen Wills told the court.

      An inquest is being held into the death of Steve Herczeg at Adelaide's Queen Elizabeth Hospital (pictured) on September 19

      An inquest is being held into the death of Steve Herczeg at Adelaide’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital (pictured) on September 19

      ‘The bladder ruptured, allowing the gas into the rest of his body.’

      Dr Wills said it was highly unusual for the tubes to be mixed up the way they were.

      ‘I’ve never come across it before,’ he said.

      He said it would have been ‘quite painful’ when Mr Herczeg’s bladder burst and while the former soccer star was already suffering from respiratory disease, the injuries would likely have killed any healthy person.

      In 1965, after standing out at a six-week Socceroos camp in Cairns, Mr Herczeg took the field against North Korea in Cambodia during Australia’s first World Cup tilt.

      The side lost the two-match series 2-9 on aggregate but Mr Herczeg made history, receiving Socceroos cap No.177.

      He made another appearance for Australia in a win over Taiwan later that year.

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