You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Sick baby needed specialist: SA coroner

AAP logoAAP 25/11/2016 Rick Goodman

A baby who died of a heart inflammation five days after being diagnosed with a viral chest infection should have been urgently referred to a specialist, the South Australian coroner says.

Bailey Milera-Ashford was 20 months old when he died of myocarditis in 2013 days after his mother took him to a doctor in Adelaide, who discovered a heart murmur but sent him home with antibiotics.

SA Coroner Mark Johns on Friday found the doctor should have referred the child to a paediatric specialist, saying "general practitioners should have a low threshold for emergency referral or urgent X-ray".

Baby Bailey's mother took him to the GP first on July 1 for immunisations and then returned on July 7 and again on July 10 when she pointed out that he had swollen feet.

But the coroner said the doctor didn't regard Bailey's feet as being particularly swollen.

"The finding of a heart murmur, which he had not heard on any of the previous six occasions, taken together with the fact that Bailey had recently been unwell, should have prompted him to think that there may have been something in what Bailey's mother was saying as regards his swollen feet," Mr Johns said.

"This should have been the tipping point for urgent specialist referral."

Mr Johns found, based on expert evidence, that if Bailey had been referred to the Women's and Children's Hospital at any point between July 7 and July 10 then his condition would have most likely been diagnosed.

"Firstly through a simple chest X-ray and then more definitely through an echocardiogram," he said.

"His prognosis would have been very good. His death would certainly have been preventable at any time in that period."

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon