The chief coroner has criticised a Northland doctor and the
district health board for failing to notify his office about
the death of Willis Tepania, who died after doing an ice
challenge and drinking bourbon.
The Herald revealed yesterday that Mr Tepania, 40, had
completed an "ice challenge" last Saturday night before
consuming a large volume of Jim Beam, possibly as much as a
litre in a matter of minutes.
About five hours later he suffered a heart attack and died on
Monday night in Whangerei Hospital.
The death was not referred to the coroner in a timely manner
and paper work was not filed until after Mr Tepania's
funeral, the coroner's office has revealed.
The ice challenge involves someone submerging themselves in
ice cold water or having a bucket of ice water poured over
They then nominate others to take the challenge and make a
donation to charity.
In many cases, participants combine the stunt with alcohol.
Yesterday, Chief Coroner Judge Neil MacLean said he was
concerned by Northland DHB's response.
"It seems a doctor was prepared to sign a death certificate
in circumstances that, in my opinion, were not appropriate. I
am satisfied there are issues surrounding the death that
meant the duty coroner should have been notified promptly."
The standard report of death form had not been sent for some
"My office will be raising the matter with the Northland
Chief Medical Officer," he said.
Last night, the Northland DHB chief executive Dr Nick
Chamberlain said: "We were unaware that the patient had
participated in the 'Ice Challenge' which, had we known,
would have triggered notification immediately to the
"There are absolutely no issues with our clinical care."
- By Sam Boyer of NZ Herald