Girl dwelling with a disability speaks out one 12 months on from Ann Marie Smith’s dying

It’s been a year since Ann Marie Smith died in appalling circumstances. Now another woman with a disability fears that she and others may suffer a similar fate.

Important points:

  • Ann Marie Smith died a year ago today
  • Another woman with a disability says she is in a similar situation
  • An advocacy group says SA is the only state that does not fund such organizations

Nat *, who did not want to be identified, spoke to disability advocate Purple Orange this morning on a podcast episode shared on ABC Radio Adelaide.

Her name was changed and her voice disguised because she was concerned about being dropped by the agency that was supporting her.

She cannot move her arms or legs and has difficulty swallowing. She said she had experienced a number of issues with the care provided over the past eight years.

A cane chair, like the one Ann Smith was allegedly left behind, was set up on the steps of the South Australian Parliament building last year.

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She said there are often language barriers with caregivers that could prove fatal.

“I can’t tell them if you can untwist my left sleeve. That puts me in danger,” she said.

“I have difficulty swallowing. If they give me drinks or medication at the wrong angle or at the wrong speed, I can choke on it. I just have to be vigilant and find out what I’m going to ask for in more ways than one.”

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She said that she often had to sit in a wheelchair and sleep because some of the carers who came to her could not help her get on and off every day.

She said other requests, such as a caregiver’s request to attend to her hygiene needs, had not been met.

“I prefer a female worker for all personal care because there is nothing I can do for myself. But sometimes I am told that it is not a choice,” she said.

“And I don’t have to feel like this. They’ll say we only have male workers. So, do you want it to be done or not?”

“Well, I don’t know. I’m not supposed to feel anything.”

It has been a year since Ann Marie Smith died of severe septic shock and multiple organ failure.

Police believe the 54-year-old, who suffered from cerebral palsy, is also malnourished and may have been sitting in a cane chair for up to a year before she died.

Nat said that her and Mrs. Smith’s lives resembled many things.

“When I heard what happened, I saw my life,” said Nat.

“NDIS funded an agency that was not performing and they were unable to complain and end the life that cut them.


“I don’t want her to die in vain.

“I feel responsible for ensuring that your name is mentioned and that it is remembered until it is fixed.

“We need to talk [to] People out there – not just the agencies, not just the government – our neighbors, our friends need to know.

“I can’t tell my family because it would upset them and they won’t be able to help, but the world needs to know that we are being neglected.”

She said she hoped things would change after Ms. Smith’s death and subsequent reports were made public, but it did not.

“It didn’t make a difference to anyone,” she said.

“You leave me in this position and go to bed every night.”

Challenge people to take responsibility

Robbi Williams, CEO of Purple Orange, said there were “many factors” that contributed to Nat’s situation, but in general nothing has improved in the disability sector since Ms. Smith’s death.

He said reviews over the past year indicated that a single person should be tasked with caring for one person under the National Disability Insurance Scheme so someone can be held accountable if problems arise.

“If something happened to Nat or someone like her, it would be nobody’s fault and it would be everyone’s fault,” Williams told ABC Radio Adelaide.

The interior of a house.  You can see three wicker chairs and a cream-colored couch.  There is also a Christmas tree.At Ann Smith’s house in Kensington Park. (

Delivered: SA police


He said South Australia is the only state that doesn’t fund advocacy groups like his.

“It doesn’t necessarily have to regulate something for everyone, but certainly the state government can and should invest in individual, independent lobbying so that people like Nat have a phone number they can go to without joining a waiting list, and confidential help on the issues received that they are worried about, “he said.

A woman wearing a blazer with a flag in the background.Labor MP Nat Cook said a warder might have noticed Ms. Smith’s situation.

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Disability Minister Michelle Lensink said the state government had “responded to all seven recommendations to improve safeguards for our most vulnerable South Australians”.

A vigil for Ms. Smith will be held at 6 p.m. tonight at the South Australian Houses of Parliament.

Labor MP Nat Cook said not enough has changed since her death.

She said if a government sponsored community visitor had been hired to visit her, things might have been different.

“I think this is just a simple strategy so that this never happens again,” said Ms. Cook.

“We let Annie Smith down in the worst possible way and it’s horrible to think that this could happen again.”

Ms. Smith’s carer Rosa Maione has been charged with manslaughter.

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