A WA coroner investigating the death of six-month-old baby from meningitis has questioned whether nurses on helplines might be breaching their code of conduct.
An inquest into the May 2011 death of Allegra Scafidas, which resumed in Perth yesterday, was told that under the nursing code of conduct nurses undertaking activities not within their scope of practice may compromise the safety of persons in their care.
The inquest has been told Allegra was diagnosed with pneumococcal meningitis when she was taken to Princess Margaret Hospital on the morning of April 29 - 11 hours after her mother called Healthdirect for advice, and nurse Dianne Ison said the baby was likely to have a "tummy virus".
The infant was placed in an induced coma but died six days later.
Dr Georgia Karabatsos, from Medibank Health Solutions, told the inquest yesterday she "could see" how Allegra's mother might think the nurse had provided a diagnosis. Coroner Dominic Mulligan was questioning her about how Allegra's mother might have thought there was no need to call back unless her daughter got worse.
"I can see objectively how it sounds like a diagnosis," she said.Mr Mulligan raised the question about whether the company took into account ethical obligations and standards for its nurses after indicating it may be an area where he might make an adverse finding.