On 8 July 2014, the Coroners’ Court of South Australia released its findings in the inquest into the death of Aurora Doreen Maureen Sleep; a baby who died as a result of hypoxic brain damage sustained during delivery.

The birth was induced in anticipation of a vaginal delivery through the use of prostaglandin gel.  The use of the gel brought on excessively strong and frequent contractions which led to the mother’s uterus rupturing.  Aurora died four days after birth and her mother was left unable to have more children.

In finding that Aurora’s death could have been prevented had the gel not been used, Coroner Schapel was critical of the current guidelines regarding inducing labour, labelling them ‘misleading’. 

Coroner Schapel recommended, among other things, that a clinical guideline be developed relating to the risk of uterine rupture occasioned by the use of prostaglandin gel and that medical professionals be education about such risks and the need to explain these to patients.

To view the findings, click here.