She leaves behind six children, including a healthy newborn baby boy.
She leaves behind six children, including a healthy newborn baby boy.

Mystery over ‘home birth’ death

UPDATE: 

WEST Moreton Hospital and Health Service Chief Executive Dr Kerrie Freeman has released a statement saying the woman who died at Ipswich Hospital in December arrived in a "critical condition". 

"We can confirm that a female patient was brought by ambulance to Ipswich Hospital in a critical condition on 27 December 2017 where, to the great distress of all concerned, she passed away," Dr Freeman said.   

"West Moreton Health sends its deepest sympathies to the woman's children, family and friends at this very difficult time. Our hearts go out to them.  

"We are working closely with police and the Coroner's Court as they prepare their report."  

INITIAL: 

AN INVESTIGATION has been launched after a mother died at hospital following the birth of her sixth child, after making plans to spend at least some of the labour at home.

Vicki Butler, who also used the surname Sturgess, died at Ipswich Hospital in southwest Brisbane on December 27, aged 41.

But the cause of her death after delivering a healthy baby boy is still a mystery, with Queensland Police working with the hospital to provide a detailed report for the coroner.

Friends from the qualified teacher’s homeschooling group paid tribute to a loving and caring mother.
Friends from the qualified teacher’s homeschooling group paid tribute to a loving and caring mother.

As a qualified teacher and religious woman, Vicki homeschooled her children, and was a committed member of a local group for parents who educated their own kids.

Friend Nadine Asmus wrote on Facebook: "She lived a full and vibrant life, blessing so many people with her kindness and generosity. Her love and passion for her children, God, people, and life will not be forgotten. We miss you terribly, but find comfort in knowing you are at peace now with Jesus."

On a GoFundMe page that has raised almost $12,000, homeschooling friend Vivienne Fox wrote: "Vicki was a gifted, committed home educating mother who adored her children, but also made time to help other families, in many ways. She will be greatly missed."

Vicki Butler, 41, tragically died in hospital after complications following the birth of her sixth child.
Vicki Butler, 41, tragically died in hospital after complications following the birth of her sixth child.

Another homeschooling mother, Miranda Reis, added: "My heart goes out to you all. Thank you for being part of the home education community. Wishing you love and peace."

Friend Angie Petersen, who homeschools her four sons, told news.com.au: "[Vicki] didn't intend to homebirth as far as I'm aware."

The Ipswich mother added: "She had told me she wanted to labour at home as much as possible so her kids could be part of the experiencebut she had not mentioned wanting to homebirth. I have many other friends in the HS [homeschooling] community that have home birthed successfully but I understand this was not the reason for her death as such. She died in hospital, several hours after being admitted in good health."

Angie follows the practice of "unschooling" with her boys, which means allowing children to study what they want, when they want. There are mixed views within the education community about the success of these methods, with some believing they are highly successful and other education experts worrying about a lack of oversight.

Queensland Police has launched an investigation into Vicki’s death, with the help of the hospital.
Queensland Police has launched an investigation into Vicki’s death, with the help of the hospital.

The rules around homeschooling differ from state to state. Some require registration and detailed syllabus-based learning plans, while others ask for much less.

Vicki's brother Cameron Butler said she had died "due to complications following child birth", and "we may find out more later but that's it."

He told news.com.au: "There is an investigation into what happened and until that's complete can't really say anything else.

"I know she would have obtained medical advice.

"There's only a couple people that know exactly what happened and where."

A spokesman for Queensland Police Media told news.com.au in a statement: "The QPS is compiling a detailed report for the Coroner in relation to the death of a 41-year-old woman at Ipswich General Hospital on December 27.

"The circumstances surrounding her death will be a matter for the Coroner and it would be inappropriate to provide further comment at this stage."

emma.reynolds@news.com.au | @emmareyn


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