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Midwives deny criminal negligence over death of woman after 2012 birth

He said Ms Lovell tried to get out of the pool with the help of the midwives but collapsed and momentarily lost consciousness. About 10am, she complained of feeling lightheaded and became agitated.

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“Ms Lovell told both accused she wanted to go hospital and told them, ‘I’m dying’,” Mr Bourke said. “The deceased requested an ambulance on two or three occasions.”

About 10.20am, Ms Lovell again lost consciousness. An ambulance was called and she was taken to the hospital where her condition deteriorated. She died the next day on January 24. An autopsy later found a postpartum haemorrhage was responsible for Ms Lovell’s collapse and cardiac arrest, Mr Bourke said.

The prosecutor told the court there were a number of aspects relating to the conduct of the two accused in the lead-up and following the birth which were allegedly criminally negligent.

“There were a number of opportunities at which the accused failed to recognise and or react to the deterioration of the deceased’s condition. It is alleged those failings caused or substantially contributed to the death of Caroline Lovell,” he said.

Ms Demanuele’s lawyer, Rishi Nathwani, said the death was tragic and his client recognised the pain Ms Lovell’s family continued to suffer.

“She wishes to acknowledge the likely impact of these proceedings on the loved ones of Caroline,” he said.

“Notwithstanding this, she has always denied that her care of Caroline amounted to criminal negligence. She denies her actions were grossly negligent as alleged by the Crown.”

Ms Bourne’s lawyer, Robert Richter, QC, said the death of Ms Lovell has had a devastating impact on both women and there was a “complete and absolute denial” there was negligence by either midwife.

“Both [midwives] did their best to exercise the skill they had and judgement they had, neither of them were aware of the earlier problem that existed in relation to the first child who was born to the deceased, they had not been told there was a postpartum haemorrhagic problem,” he said.

“They were never told that and, what’s more, the deceased’s husband didn’t know that was the case. There are critical matters.

“At the time of the delivery, neither of them were aware of a complication that arose at the earlier birth that involved what’s described as postpartum haemorrhage. And so, we dispute that there was gross or serious negligence and we say that the two women acted as loving and caring midwives who had no reason to suspect what was about to befall the deceased.”

More than 30 witnesses will be called during the 10-day committal hearing, which will continue on Friday.

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