Doctor’s misdiagnosis led to new mother’s death from septicaemia, court told.

By Jade MacMillan

A former doctor who misdiagnosed a patient that later died of septicaemia has conceded he made a mistake, but says he was not criminally negligent.

Kerry Ann McAllister, 38, died less than a week after giving birth at The Hills Private Hospital in the Sydney suburb of Baulkham Hills in May 1996.

Her obstetrician Graeme Reeves has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter.

Reeves’ District Court trial was told Ms McAllister developed symptoms including a high temperature, fatigue and pain in her limbs not long after giving birth but was misdiagnosed by Reeves as having a virus.

She was transferred to Westmead Hospital four days later but died from septicaemia the next morning.

Prosecutors argued nurses at The Hills hospital repeatedly raised concerns about Ms McAllister and that a “reasonable obstetrician” would have questioned the initial diagnosis as the patient’s condition worsened.

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The court heard Reeves’ failure to properly investigate and treat Ms McAllister’s symptoms were significant factors in her death.

However lawyers for Reeves said while the former doctor admits to making a mistake, he did not have a “wicked indifference to her wellbeing” and should not be found guilty of manslaughter.

They said Ms McAllister’s husband and one of her other children were ill at the time and clinical records showed she had complained of a sore throat and a congested nose.

The trial is being heard before a judge alone.

This post originally appeared on ABC News.


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