A NEW mum could have been diagnosed with the infection that later killed her hours earlier, an inquest has heard.

Amy Kimmance, 39, died two days after giving birth at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital, Winchester, on December 21, 2007.

The inquest into her death heard today that blood test results which revealed she had Group A streptococcal infection were available to doctors at 2.13pm on December 22.

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But the hospital's laboratory did not tell doctors of the abnormal blood sample results, meaning Mrs Kimmance was not diagnosed until 4pm.

Dr Emma Torbe said: "I was unable to check the results any earlier than I did."

Dr Torbe had been in theatre with another patient but said if clinicians had been told of the test results an on call doctor could have been summoned.

Asked whether this delay in diagnosis would have saved Mrs Kimmance, Dr Steve Wimbush said: "Whether the difference of one hour would have made any difference I cannot say but it would be my opinion that it would not have.

"The speed of deterioration suggests that I don't believe anything would have changed that outcome but its impossible to say with any certainty."