A general practitioner has told an inquest that his young patient, who died after multiple attempts to seek help from an Adelaide emergency department, would likely have survived if he had been admitted to hospital.

The SA Coroners Court heard Sri Lankan national Sachintha Battagodage, 23, sought help from the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) three times within five days in November 2020.

He collapsed and died at a radiology clinic in Glenelg shortly after having a CT scan.

Counsel assisting the coroner, Emma Roper, previously told the court that the man informed doctors he was coughing and vomiting up blood before he died from a ruptured chest pseudoaneurysm.

The court was on Thursday shown graphic images and videos of the blood and phlegm Mr Battagodage had been coughing up at home, taken by his wife Yelani Perera.

The inquest previously heard she had asked for her husband to be admitted to the RAH before they were asked to follow up with a GP.

That GP, Indika Hathurusinghe, on Thursday told the inquest the videos shown to the court indicated there were clots in the blood, which suggested the internal bleeding had been occurring for some time.

He said that “he hadn’t seen a presentation like that in his career” and that the condition was a “very rare phenomenon”.

Yelani Perera and husband Sachintha Battagodage, who died after repeatedly seeking assistance from the Royal Adelaide Hospital in November 2020.(Supplied)

When asked if the doctor believed Mr Battagodage’s life could have been saved if he was to have been admitted to hospital, Dr Hathurusinghe said, “with the benefit of hindsight, yes”.

“Mr Battagodage would have needed to be in hospital if his life was to have been saved,” he said.

He said while there was no absolute guarantee, the fact that a vascular surgeon would have been available in a hospital setting would have given him a higher chance of survival.

The GP said Mr Battagodage’s vital signs were not bad enough to warrant calling an ambulance when he saw him for the consultation.

But he said he should have been earlier admitted to hospital because he had been coughing up blood, had tiredness and was experiencing shortness of breath.

“I was given the picture that the Royal Adelaide Hospital triage team didn’t think he was bad enough to be admitted,” he told the court.

Dr Hathurusinghe said because Mr Battagodage was not “overtly unwell clinically” when he presented at his clinic, he thought he could do the scan as an outpatient that day.

“My priority was to get him the scan as soon as possible,” he said.

Radiologist presents evidence 

The inquest also heard from a radiologist who scanned Mr Battagodage before he collapsed.

Dr David Donovan told the inquest it was “obvious” that Mr Battagodage needed care, and in retrospect if he had not collapsed, he would have been sent to the emergency department for “urgent intervention”.

“The situation I deemed was quite serious and this aneurysm was potentially able to rupture at any time,” he told the inquest.

Dr David Donovan told the inquest it was obvious that Sachintha Battagodage needed urgent care.(ABC News: Shari Hams)

After that scan, Mr Battagodage then collapsed in the clinic’s bathroom.

Dr Donovan told the inquest there were “exhaustive” attempts to resuscitate Mr Battagodage by both staff and himself [Dr Donovan] before emergency service crews arrived.

An hour after Mr Battagodage collapsed, he was pronounced dead.

When asked if that was a long time to give CPR to a patient, he replied “yes”.

“I believe they did everything that [they] could possibly do in the situation,” he told the inquest.

When asked if any staff members were not taking the situation seriously, Dr Donovan replied “absolutely not”.

The inquest continues.