The late Michaela Perrin was a 26 year old mother-of-3 who passed away in tragic circumstances on the morning of 22 October 2014 at Lismore Base Hospital.
On 16 October 2014, Michaela underwent a planned caesarean section at Lismore Base Hospital and successfully delivered her third child, a healthy baby girl. She was subsequently discharged 4 days later.
After experiencing some pain from the abdominal scar, Michaela returned to Emergency Department at Lismore Base Hospital on two occasions.
On 20 October 2014, she presented to the hospital and was assessed in a short consultation, given painkillers and sent home.
On 21 October 2014, Michaela returned to the Emergency Department again with worsening pain. She was admitted the Woman’s Care Unit.
On 22 October 2014 at about 7am, Michaela was found dead in her hospital bed with her baby sleeping nearby. She had passed away about 5 hours earlier.
Her cause of death was septic shock associated with a serious bacterial infection in her caesarean wound.
Coroner’s Court – The Inquest
The NSW State Coroner’s Court is the means by which the manner and cause of death of a person such as Micheala is determined. It also assists families to understand what has happened to their loved ones.
An Inquest into Michaela’s death was heard over 7 days in Sydney. On the 27th February 2018, the NSW State Deputy Coroner handed down her findings.
The Coroner found that Michaela’s death was potentially avoidable if she been provided with adequate medical care and attention. She was scathing in her comment about one doctor in particular stating that she was grossly negligent and she “showed a startling lack of awareness in how to recognise sepsis and how serious the condition is” and that her inaction largely contributed to Michaela’s death.
After the Inquest
As part of her recommendation the Coroner recommended the conduct of that doctor be referred to the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) for investigation.
The HCCC is an independent body which deals with complaints about health service providers in NSW. The HCCC role is to investigate, resolve and even prosecute serious complaints referred to it.
Alongside this recommendation, the Coroner also noted that changes had already been made by Northern NSW Local Health District which has put into place mechanisms to avoid other women in a similar situation, suffering the same fate as Michaela.
Outside the Coroner’s Court Michaela’s mother, Cathy, said she was pleased with the steps taken, including the policies and plans implemented by the Local Health District, and that she hoped this would never happen to anyone else again.
How Stacks Goudkamp can help
Stacks Goudkamp represented the Perrin Family at the Inquest of into the death of Michaela Perrin, and is assisting them to recover damages to enable the family to raise Michaela’s 3 young children.
If you know of someone who has suffered an injury or death in medical misadventure, you may be entitled to compensation. For more information, please call Stacks Goudkamp on 1800 25 1800 to arrange a free, no-obligation assessment of your claim, or alternatively, make an online enquiry.
Written by Mark Crollos.