THE family of a pregnant Wiradjuri woman who died just hours after being discharged from hospital says they have not accepted an apology from the local health district.
Naomi Jane Williams, 27, was six months' pregnant when she died on New Year's Day in 2016 despite presenting herself numerous times to Tumut Hospital for extreme physical pain, vomiting, and nausea.
An autopsy report later revealed her death was caused by septicaemia, secondary to Neisseria meningitidis infection, a condition usually treatable with antibiotics.
Earlier this week, the Coroner's Court found that implicit racial bias and a lack of emergency care and awareness were major contributing factor to Ms Williams' death.
Yesterday, Murrumbidgee Local Health District CEO Jill Ludford issued an apology via a media statement to the family.
"I am deeply sorry for Ms Williams' death. The MLHD acknowledges that Ms Williams should have been provided with better treatment throughout her presentation to Tumut District Hospital," she said.
"MLHD is carefully considering the coroner's findings and recommendations."
.@MurrumbidgeeLHD CEO apologises to the family and friends of Naomi Williams.— Toby Vue (@tobyvue) July 31, 2019
On July 29 following the findings of a coronial inquest into Ms Williams’ death, her best friend Talea Bulger said they had not received a direct apology. @GeorgeNewhouse@AnitaHeisshttps://t.co/wLiedUWNk9pic.twitter.com/RFERjfGIpK
However, George Newhouse, the lawyer representing the family, said they would "prefer any apologies from the health service to be made face-to-face".
"They demand action, not mere words," he said.
"Naomi's family will not be in a position to accept any apologies until Tumut Hospital staff show by their conduct that they are taking the culturally safe care of Aboriginal patients seriously and they make real and permanent changes to the way that they treat Aboriginal people.
"The family would like any apology to include specific reference to what action is being taken to address the criticisms that the coroner made about the unsatisfactory care that Naomi received from Tumut Hospital."
Mr Newhouse said the family would like the health district to say whether any action is proposed to hold staff accountable for the multiple failures identified.
"Local Aboriginal community members have advised that there have been other incidents since Naomi's inquest that give them continuing cause for concern," he said.
On Monday after the court's findings, Ms Williams' best friend Talea Bulger said "there's a long way to go" in health reforms for Indigenous patients.
"Today is the beginning of getting all those changes implemented ... we hope the hospital is listening," Ms Bulger said.
The health district has been asked if a direct apology has been made since Wednesday.
A spokesperson for Health Minister Brad Hazzard said it was their understanding from the MLHD that "the CEO did meet with the family and has offered to apologise again".
The spokesperson said that "several of the recommendations have been implemented". After the inquest, the Coroner's Court made nine recommendations.