A SIX-day hearing into the death of a baby two hours after birth at Latrobe Regional Hospital in October 2012 wrapped up at the Victorian Coroner’s Court on Tuesday.
The inquest will now move into a written submission period, ahead of the coroner handing down her findings, which will consider the extra risks for a pregnant woman with a high body mass index.
Baby Mabel Grace was unable to be resuscitated after she was born in an emergency caesarean by Kathryn Windmill, whose obesity placed her and her baby at greater risk of complications.
The family’s lawyer, Maurice and Blackburn principal Dimitra Dubrow, said she believed the next stage of the inquest would take at least six weeks before the coroner began deliberations.
“The family obviously was very pleased the inquest process has begun, as it is important to have those in her care give evidence for what occurred,” Ms Dubrow said.
“The family hopes this process will provide some learning so this doesn’t happen to other families (and) improve patient safety.”
An LRH spokesperson said the hospital would comment once the coroner’s findings were handed down.
On Friday an obstetrician defended his care of Ms Windmill during her labour, telling the court he would not do anything differently in hindsight.
Dr Philip Watters told the inquest he did not agree baby Mabel Grace was showing signs of severe hypoxia more than five hours before he delivered her by an emergency caesarean section.
“I was trying to take the course of least risk for the mother and baby at all times. I had two patients to consider.”
He said he believed a vaginal delivery was safer for Ms Windmill due to her high body mass index putting her at higher risk of complications.
“I made the clinical call that this baby had not run out of coping mechanisms,” he told the Victorian Coroner’s Court.
with The Age