Ambulance officer: I will never forget

A St John Ambulance officer says she has had to receive psychological help after seeing a Huntly mother after she gave birth.

Roseanne Ford, a St John Ambulance emergency and transfer officer, was speaking at the inquest into the deaths of Casey and Kymani Nathan at Hamilton.

Miss Nathan died in May 2012 after giving birth to her son Kymani, who died two days later.

Yesterday Mrs Ford told the inquest she saw something she "will never forget" when going into the delivery room at Huntly Birthcare where Miss Nathan had delivered Kymani.

"She appeared to me to be in irreversible shock, so she was unconscious."

Mrs Ford said in her statement - read to the court - that she thought something more should have been done for the unconscious woman.

" . . . it appeared to me that they were not doing anything for the patient," she said of the centre staff attending to Miss Nathan.

"The unconscious woman was haemorrhaging and no attempt was made to stop the bleeding," Mrs Ford said.

Coroner Garry Evans asked Ms Ford why she thought there was a lack of professionalism in the room by the women treating Miss Nathan and what they could have done better.

"I would have assumed that they would be consoling her or treating her for any problem that they had observed," Mrs Ford said.

"Bearing in mind you were only in the room two minutes?" Coroner Evans then asked.

"Less than a minute," Mrs Ford replied.

Hamilton team manager and intensive care paramedic Nigel Dawson was one of two officers to meet the ambulance as it made its way to Waikato hospital.

In his statement - read out yesterday - Mr Dawson expressed the view that Miss Nathan looked "as close to death as possible without being dead" as she was very pale, clammy and sweating profusely.

In his evidence, Mr Dawson also expressed the view that the lead maternity carer (LMC) "appeared to be very unsure of herself and what was going on".

"I don't think she knew how seriously ill the patient was."

In her statement in reply addressing the issue, the LMC, who has interim name suppression, said: "I most certainly realised how sick the patient was and the need to get to Waikato as soon as possible."

"I was baffled by Casey's condition as it was not consistent with the clinical history," she wrote.

Te Kauwhata-based St John Ambulance officer Wendy Phillips, who has 40 years' experience, also gave evidence at the inquest yesterday.

She said she was the first to respond to the scene. She was asked by counsel for Huntly Birthcare Paul White about Miss Nathan "thrashing her arms and leg around" as noted in earlier evidence by Ms Ford.

Ms Phillips agreed that was true and she said it occurred as soon as she started loading Miss Nathan into the ambulance, continuing until she arrived at Waikato hospital.

In evidence last week, the three midwives involved at Huntly Birthcare on the day, said that they didn't "see any evidence" of Miss Nathan thrashing her arms and legs around in apparent shock.

Kay Hoult, counsel for Hayden Tukiri - Miss Nathan's partner - asked Ms Phillips to recall a conversation she heard among the midwives, including the LMC, in which Ms Hoult said one said "just put it down to experience".

Ms Phillips said she was inside her ambulance when she overheard them and assumed they had no idea she was there.

She said: "I was appalled... we had just rushed, and I mean rushed, a seriously ill patient to hospital. It shocked me."

"Why?" coroner Evans asked.

"It was the tone it was spoken in," Ms Phillips said.

The coroner has reserved his decision.

The inquest hearing concluded yesterday, after eight days, with written findings to follow.

Waikato Times