Wife not told about chemo bungle: husband

Kathryn Bermingham

A leukaemia patient given the incorrect dose of chemotherapy at the Royal Adelaide Hospital was not told about the error during appointments with her doctor, an inquest has heard.

William Pinxteren, husband of Johanna Pinxteren, told a South Australian coroner on Monday that he always attended medical appointments with his wife, who died in 2015, but could not recall any time she had been told about the mistake in person or by mail.

He said he only learnt his wife received the incorrect dose after her death, when he moved to Victoria to live with his son.

The inquest, before Deputy Coroner Anthony Schapel, has been open for almost two years and is also investigating the deaths of other leukaemia patients Christopher McRae, Bronte Higham and Carol Bairnsfather.

All four were among 10 patients who were underdosed during their chemotherapy treatment at the RAH or at the Flinders Medical Centre between July 2014 and January 2015.

The coroner heard in 2016 that Ms Pinxteren and Mr McRae died without knowing they had been underdosed, but counsel assisting Naomi Kereru was forced to withdraw the claims after the state government denied them in parliament.

Ms Kereru said Ms Pinxteren's records for March 11, 2015, showed Dr Devendra Hiwase had discussed the mistake and offered an apology.

On Monday, it was again put to Mr Pinxteren - this time by Dr Hiwase's lawyer - that the couple was told about the mistakes during at least one consultation.

But Mr Pinxteren denied the claim, telling the court his children had become aware of the underdosing through media reports, and no one had ever told him that his wife had spoken about the error.

The inquest was adjourned until Wednesday, when Professor Alan Boddy will be recalled ahead of closing submissions.