Four years after 29-day-old baby Levi Shane Vanin died, experts now agree on his cause of death, the Coroner’s Court has heard.
Four years after 29-day-old baby Levi Shane Vanin died, experts now agree on his cause of death, the Coroner’s Court has heard.

Experts agree baby’s death was not preventable

Medical experts have agreed the death of 29-day-old baby Levi Shane Vanin was not preventable just as a coronial inquest into the boy's death more than four years ago was due to begin.

The Coroner's Court had set aside 10 days to hear evidence about the death of Levi from Tuesday, but counsel assisting the coroner, Ahura Kalali, said the experts now agree Levi's cause of death was an intra-uterine infection.

"The experts now are in joint agreement that the death of Levi was not preventable and was not due to any inappropriate obstetric or paediatric care," he said.

"That is the conclusion of both expert witnesses."

Levi was born on October 18, 2016, at the Lyell McEwin Hospital but was unable to breathe spontaneously and was ventilated, before being transferred to the Women's and Children's Hospital for neonatal and later palliative care. He died on November 16, 2016.

Mr Kalali told the court an initial "minor disagreement" between experts in obstetrics and gynaecology, Emeritus Professor Alastair MacLennan and Professor Roger Pepperell related to the expected due date.

"But the joint opinion is that it had no bearing on the causation," he said.

"They comment on the management of the labour and delivery however overall they make no criticism and their joint agreed opinion is now that the most likely cause of death is intra-uterine infection extending prior to and during the labour and throughout the neonatal period."

"Unfortunately the journey here has been unsavoury, but they are now unequivocal and cast no criticism of the care and treatment provided."

He said Professor Pepperell had come to an agreement with Professor MacLennan.

State Coroner David Whittle said the inquest would instead be heard by affidavit only on Friday.

"It would be open to the court to decide now not to proceed with an inquest but in all of the circumstances I am more inclined at present to proceed with an inquest … by affidavit only," he said.

He said the affidavits and expert reports were "not currently in the public domain", but a strong case existed to ensure they become available via an inquest.

Mr Whittle said any findings to be delivered into Levi's death were unlikely to make any recommendations.

The court heard Levi's parents, who were present in court, had been consulted about the joint report prior to the hearing.

Originally published as Experts agree baby's death was not preventable


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