A coronial inquest into the death of a four-week-old baby boy at an Adelaide hospital in 2016 will go ahead, despite a last-minute agreement being reached by medical experts that his death was not caused by medical negligence.

Key points:

  • Levi Shane Vanin died four weeks after he was born
  • A coronial inquest will continue, despite experts being in “joint agreement” about the cause
  • The Coroner’s Court heard the death was not due to “inappropriate” care

Four-week-old Levi Shane Vanin was born at Lyell McEwin Hospital at Elizabeth Vale in Adelaide’s north on October 18, 2016.

The baby was not able to breathe on his own and was transferred to the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, where he died on November 16, 2016.

A post-mortem found he died from neonatal encephalopathy — a neurological condition that causes difficulty with breathing in the first days of life.

A coronial inquest was scheduled to begin today, but Coroner David Whittle told a packed courtroom that “matters recently arisen” meant the hearing would be adjourned.

Counsel assisting the coroner Ahura Kalali told Mr Whittle that “experts are now in joint agreement … [the death] was not due to any inappropriate obstetric or paediatric care”.

He said the medical experts had formed the view “that the most likely cause of death is intra-uterine infection extended to and prior to labour”.

Levi Shane Vanin was born at the Lyell McEwin Hospital.(ABC News: Tony Hill)

The coroner said he would proceed with the inquest, but accepted it would most likely result in no recommendations being made.

“It is difficult to see… that the inquest could [or] would make inquest recommendations,” Mr Whittle said.

Mr Kalali told the coroner the baby’s parents — who were in court for the proceedings — had been made aware of the development.

The inquiry is now scheduled to start this Friday.

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