A Greek Cypriot doctor’s decision to help his daughter and not her dying friend has raised eyebrows in Australia, along with ethical questions and criticism over the police investigation.
A medical doctor, general practitioner Jack Kyriacou Kerry from Adelaide, defended his actions this week during an inquest into the death of 43-year-old Luke Pike, who died in 2016 from a heroin overdose alongside 30-year-old Athena Kyriacou, the doctor’s daughter who was rushed to the Emergency Room and survived.
According to foreign media, Kerry found both his daughter and Pike unconscious inside his private clinic, where the daughter also worked as a phlebotomist. The doctor also said he acted on fatherly instincts when he rushed to his daughter’s aid first.
“I went straight to my daughter,” he said.
'I didn’t know whether she was going to come out of it and I didn’t know whether Luke Pike would come out of it'
Even though the doctor agreed with the coroner that the man was in a far worse state than his daughter, Kerry said Pike had “gone past the point of no return,” citing his pale face with lips that had turned blue.
Kerry said there was another man there whom he directed to begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on Pike. The attempt was unsuccessful and the doctor turned his attention to Pike after the other man left the room. When paramedics arrived on the scene, they were unable to revive Pike and he passed away.
But the coroner also heard allegations against the police, with the counsel arguing that investigators missed an opportunity to go after the heroin supplier.
On the night of Pike’s death, police seized drugs and cash during a search at a different residence that was linked to the overdose incident. This find led to a conviction of another man on trafficking charges.
But no link was ever made between the supply of the heroin and the syringe used in the overdose, with the counsel arguing that a syringe taken from the clinic was neither recorded nor tested.
A police detective maintained that a forensic expert assured investigators that an analysis of a syringe from the scene would not have been enough to confirm or deny that it was linked to the heroin seized that night at a different location.
Other reports said the syringe from the scene was misplaced as two different police departments were involved with the case.
Kerry has denied removing any evidence from the scene, while the counsel insisted that police should have proceeded with an “abundance of caution” by calling for a lab test and analysis of the syringe.
The case also raised an ethical question as to Kerry’s actions in rushing to his daughter’s aid instead of a man who was in a worse condition.
“I didn’t know whether she was going to come out of it and I didn’t know whether Luke Pike would come out of it,” the doctor said.