The psychiatric injury “was a significant contributing factor” in claiming the teacher's life.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on August 4, 2022. It has since been updated.
In 2019, Timothy Fehring was only 15 years old when he went on a school trip to Europe. Fehring, a student of Blackburn High School in Melbourne, was on the trip with 16 other students and two teachers, when his life came to a tragic end on June 28th, 2019. Two years later, one of the teachers who was on the trip—and witnessed Fehring's death—passed away from the trauma he endured.
Reports suggest that the 15-year-old had complained of not feeling well the day he landed in Berlin on June 23. He also sent messages to his mother Barbara, saying, “I almost threw up and am working on getting better so I can have a better time. I'm going to sleep like a baby because it might be exhaustion. I have not slept in hours and I always feel dizzy.”
Unfortunately, his illness was dismissed as "homesickness" and this "diagnosis" was backed by the doctor when he examined Fehring. The coroner's report claimed that there was some kind of infection that spread in his lungs and his blood which probably stopped his heart from working.
“Dr. Schrems should have conducted a physical examination, including taking of blood pressure or use of a stethoscope, for a first-time patient prior to writing a script for anxiety medication,” the report noted, according to Daily Mail.
The shattered parents of a teenage boy who died on an excursion in Europe have spoken out in the hope no one suffers like they have.— 9News Melbourne (@9NewsMelb) July 25, 2022
A coroner's report has forced the Education Department to overhaul its staff requirements after the loss of Timothy Fehring. @lanamurphy #9News pic.twitter.com/Gc1Xg8ZMkH
After Fehring’s demise, his devastated mother said, “The people in charge thought he was homesick but he wasn't. He couldn't wait to go away, but he didn't like making a fuss. He was a very fit, healthy and energetic kid who was always happy and always wanted to make those around him happy.”
As per reports, Assistant Principal Geoff Vezey was with him when Fehring died, per Newsfeeds. He found him unconscious and covered in vomit and blood outside a doctor's office, where he took him for check-up, in Vienna. The State Coroner's report now reveals the distressed messages he sent to another teacher. "Please call me," he sent before noting, "Are you outside the entrance? Tim is extremely unwell… I am on the first floor outside the doctors. I cannot wake him."
When his colleague replied: "Do you want an ambulance?" he said, "I need medical people. He has vomited all over himself. Blood is coming out of his nose and I cannot wake him. He is in a trance." Later, he added: "The doctor is helping me now," before being told an ambulance was also coming.
Though the boy was immediately taken to the hospital, he couldn’t be saved and around two years later, in April 2021, Vezey also died at his Ringwood East home.
Distressing text messages sent when assistant principal Geoff Vezey saw one of his teen students covered in vomit have been revealed.https://t.co/pThub339pC— news.com.au (@newscomauHQ) July 28, 2022
According to the 52-year-old man’s family, he suffered an “acute psychiatric injury” after Fehring's shocking death. His family is now suing Victoria's Education Department, claiming the trauma of witnessing Fehring's untimely death led to his own demise. They also claimed in the suit that Vezey found it impossible to continue living normally after his student’s death and suffered depression, post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and panic attacks.
The court documents added that the acute psychiatric injury “was a significant contributing factor” in claiming his life. First, Vezey’s family tried to get compensation from the state but it was denied, forcing them to reach out to the the County Court for a trial by a judge.
It was then revealed that once details of Fehring's death came out, change in policies regarding international school trip was advised. The coroner recommended “the Department of Education to increase its ratios on overseas trips so students were better resourced in the event of illness, and that the department review its excursions policy,” news.com.au reported. The report added that the suggestions have been considered.
Cover Image Source: YouTube | 7NEWS Australia