A heartbroken family will be one step closer to closure when a coronial inquest into the death of a Riverina woman and her unborn child begins on Monday.
Naomi Williams, a 27-year-old Wiradjuri woman, was six months pregnant when she arrived at Tumut District Hospital in the early hours of New Year’s Day in 2016.
Adjunct Professor George Newhouse, who will represent Ms Williams’ family at the inquest, said she was observed briefly, given an iceblock and two Panadol tablets, then sent home after just 34 minutes.
Just 14 hours later, Ms Williams and her unborn baby boy died.
The inquest, which will begin at Gundagai Local Court, will examine the care Ms Williams was given that morning at Tumut Hospital and question how systemic failures might have contributed to her death.
Professor Newhouse said her death was horrific for the family she left behind.
“The circumstances surrounding Naomi’s death have been devastating for her family and left the lives of all who knew and loved her shattered,” Professor Newhouse said.
“Naomi’s mum, Sharon, lost her only child and grandchild that day; her partner lost the love of his life and their unborn baby.”
Professor Newhouse said the inquest would also explore whether the fact that Ms Williams was an Aboriginal woman played any part in how she was treated.
"Her death raises questions about the standard of care at the hospital and whether prejudice may have played a part in her death,” he said.
“They don’t want Naomi’s death to be in vain. They want lessons to be learned and reforms to be made to the health care system.”
Medical staff are expected to give evidence at the inquest on Monday and Tuesday with Ms Williams’ mother to follow on Friday.