A sedationist who gave adrenaline to remedy Helen Grainger’s anaphylactic reaction was adamant he followed correct procedure by slowly injecting the drug.
Dr Adrian Wenck told Deputy State Coroner Scott Mitchell he believed Mrs Grainger was suffering a severe anaphylactic reaction to the antibiotic Keflin, which he had administered during a pregnancy termination at the Lambton Road Day Surgery in Broadmeadow on April 26, 2007.
Dr Wenck, who was approaching 20,000 sedations at the time of Mrs Grainger’s procedure, said he administered a small test dose of Keflin, which did not produce a reaction.
In Belmont Coroner’s Court yesterday, Dr Wenck said he was called to the recovery room shortly after the 15 minute procedure after a large rash had appeared on Mrs Grainger’s body and she was having difficulty breathing.
After administering a small dose of adrenaline, Dr Wenck said he believed Mrs Grainger’s condition was deteriorating rapidly and administered four further doses of the drug, intravenously, over 10 minutes before and after starting CPR. Counsel assisting Peggy Dwyer said Dr Wenck’s evidence conflicted with that of his colleague, who said when she entered the room to help with the CPR all the adrenaline had been administered.
“Is it possible, in the panic of the moment, is it possible you injected one dose?” Ms Dwyer asked.
“No ... well it is possible, but I’m absolutely certain I didn’t,” Dr Wenck said.
On Monday the court heard from Director of the Allergy Unit at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Dr Robert Loblay, who said a large dose of adrenaline was the likely cause of Mrs Grainger’s cardiac arrest that resulted in brain hypoxia and her eventual death.
Dr Loblay said muscular injection in small increments was the appropriate treatment for anaphylaxis.
Questioned about this, Dr Wenck said he deliberately injected the adrenaline intravenously because he believed Mrs Grainger was in an extreme state and “judging by [her] clinical appearance, minutes even seconds counted”.
Dr Wenck told the court he had suffered depression following Mrs Grainger’s death and had taken six months leave from work.
The inquest continues today.