A KING Edward Memorial Hospital doctor has been suspended and is under investigation over the death of a mother’s unborn twin last month.
The North Metropolitan Health Service has declared the incident a sentinel event, which is used for the most serious of alleged medical errors.
A health service spokesman could not elaborate on details of the medical procedure that preceded the twin’s death or how advanced the mother’s pregnancy was at the time.
But he confirmed a doctor had been stood down from the State Government maternity hospital.
“The North Metropolitan Health Service is investigating the circumstances of a clinical incident that recently occurred at King Edward Memorial Hospital,” he said.
“A member of staff has been suspended from duties pending completion of the investigation.
“All clinical incidents of this kind are investigated and analysed to identify contributing factors, and lessons learned are identified and put into practice to improve the safety and quality of services.
“We extend our sincere condolences to the patient and encourage all patients experiencing loss to access the hospital’s on-site Perinatal Loss and Pastoral Care Services.”
He said “internal and external experts” were conducting the investigation.
It is not known how long it will take.
The Australian Medical Association could not comment on the matter.
The WA Health Department defines a sentinel event as “rare adverse events leading to serious patient harm or death, that are specifically caused by healthcare rather than the patient’s underlying condition or illness”.
The department’s most recently published sentinel event report was in 2010-11.
That year, there were 96 confirmed sentinel events, 58 per cent of which resulted in death.