Jamie Manuele and his nephew Javier in the week before Jamie died due to complications stemming from a serious condition that left him permanently disabled in 2013.
Jamie Manuele and his nephew Javier in the week before Jamie died due to complications stemming from a serious condition that left him permanently disabled in 2013. Daphnejean Finnegan

'A good battle': Man who won $10m hospital payout dies

JAMIE Manuele had a heart like an ox and wore it proudly on his sleeve.

This strong, cheeky, and kind personality never faded, even when a serious medical condition left Jamie permanently disabled.

For five years, the 36-year-old father of four defied the bleak odds given to him by doctors.

His mother Daphnejean Finnegan refused to give up on her son, becoming his full-time carer and barely leaving his side.

Despite ongoing medical complications, including painful kidney stones, Jamie's humour and affection shone through until the end.

Jamie's condition rapidly deteriorated over the weekend, and he died peacefully on Sunday surrounded by family.


Daphnejean is grieving the loss of her eldest child, but said Jamie was "tired" after years of putting up the best fight he could.

"I always knew God was going to call him home," she said.

Jamie went to Rockhampton Hospital in August 2013, complaining of an acute headache and left-side weakness.

Four days later he was transferred to Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, where he suffered a heart attack and underwent surgery to relieve pressure in his brain.

Doctors told Daphnejean her son was brain-dead, but she refused to give up fighting for him and in 2014 told The Morning Bulletin sneaking Stilnox to Jamie had markedly improved his condition.

Jamie regained some brain activity and eventually was able to move home with Daphnejean.

"I think he put up the best fight," Daphnejean said. "He was doing the hard yards every day. He really did me proud."

Daphnejean said Jamie's medical condition and disability weren't "in the natural scheme of things", but the family adapted and treasured the time they had together.

"I loved him to bits," she said. "He was my world."

In 2016, Jamie was awarded $10<TH>million after a delay in diagnosis and "inadequate" care contributed to his serious ongoing medical condition.

Yet even this compensation came with its own struggles.


Dedicated mother Daphne Manuele talks with her son Jamie at the Rockhampton Hospital.  Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin
Dedicated mother Daphnejean talks with her son Jamie at the Rockhampton Hospital in 2014. Chris Ison ROK280114chosp2

Daphnejean said she had been jumping through the legal hoops involved with getting a home extension signed off to fit an accessible bath for Jamie for two years.

The funds for the extension were approved just two days before Jamie died.

Daphnejean said she was angry her son still had to fight for every cent of his money, and got little from it except a new medical bed and a television.

That money will now form Jamie's estate and be distributed among his children, Tommy-Lee, Trinity, Jeaniea, and Jesse-James.

Some money will also be put aside for Jamie's 19-month-old nephew Javier, who is in the custody of grandmother Daphnejean.

Daphnejean said the toddler has been calling out for "Uncle Jamie" since Sunday and did not understand why he was no longer at home.

"He fought a good battle," Daphnejean said. "He should not have been able to talk.

"He shouldn't have even been able to breathe. He was the strongest bloke I ever knew.

"I just hope he's free of pain and suffering and he's in a better place."

Jamie's teenage sister Storm described her brother as "courageous from start to end".

"His body may have been broken but his courage could have never been questioned," she said.