Discrepancy in evidence during inquest into mother's death

A DOCTOR blamed human error in misreading a clock for a discrepancy between his version of events and another doctor’s during the inquest in Belmont Court yesterday into the death of a Morpeth mother.

Dr Adrian Wenck said his colleague may have misread the clock in the recovery room at Lambton Road Day Surgery, Broadmeadow, on April 26, 2007.

He was giving evidence at the coronial inquest into the death of Helen Grainger, 29, who died following complications from a medically recommended abortion.

Ms Grainger suffered an allergic reaction to the antibiotic Keflin, went into severe anaphylactic shock and needed adrenalin and CPR.

Dr Wenck, a GP/anaesthetist who was in charge of sedation, gave evidence that he went to the recovery room about 9.40am and Ms Grainger was having difficulty breathing.

Dr Wenck said he administered small doses of adrenalin via an intravenous drip starting about 9.42am, over a period of about eight minutes.

But a second doctor gave a statement that when she entered the room at 9.45am, the adrenalin had already been given.

Counsel assisting, Peggy Dwyer, said the time discrepancy and notes written by Dr Wenck within 30 minutes of Ms Grainger being taken to John Hunter Hospital by ambulance, could suggest the adrenalin was given in one dose, triggering cardiac arrest.

The court heard that both Dr Wenck and the nurse who administered CPR, in separate records, made only one mention of adrenalin being given.

He did concede that from reading his initial notes one could assume he gave one large dose of adrenalin, but said it was in fact careful, gradual doses.

The detail was left out of the notes as they were written in a ‘‘shorthand way’’, he said.

The inquest continues at Raymond Terrace Coroner’s Court today.

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