SAD LOSS: Summer Steer.
SAD LOSS: Summer Steer.

Doctor’s two-line note for Summer before battery death

THE coroner in the Summer Steer inquest instructed a police officer to accompany Summer's general practitioner back to his Tewantin practice to seize all notes in the heart-wrenching case.

John Hutton, who is overseeing the three-day inquest in the Maroochydore Courthouse, made the ruling after saying Dr Andrew Spall's medical notes in Summer's case were "woefully inadequate".

Only two lines marked the crucial entry when Summer's mum, Andrea Shoesmith, took her sickly four-a-half year old to see Dr Spall as she was complaining of abdominal cramps and loose stools on June 17.

Dr Spall wrote "Giardia?" and the antibiotic he prescribed in his notes.


Giardia is an intestinal infection caused by a parasite that includes symptoms of cramping and diarrhoea.

It is clinically confirmed by a stool sample, but Dr Spall never took one for Summer.

He had diagnosed Ms Shoesmith with the same infection weeks earlier, also without undertaking a clinical specimen and said he believed the cases were linked as Ms Shoesmith had responded to treatment.

Summer Steer.

Summer died in the Royal Brisbane Hospital 13 days after her doctor's appointment from injuries related to ingesting a small lithium battery.

Ms Shoesmith was questioned for nearly four hours on events leading up to her daughter's death.

She told the coroner she had taken Summer to Dr Spall twice, the second occasion on June 17, as Summer had been complaining of sore stomach, a slight fever and she had "black poos".

Dr Spall's records only show the one appointment.

He has also denied under oath Ms Shoesmith ever mentioned the "black poo" and said if she had, he would have referred her for an x-ray or to the hospital for an examination.

An x-ray, detecting the battery in Summer's oesophagus was only picked up hours before she died and after she had been to Noosa Emergency Department for a third time as she had been vomiting blood.

Ms Shoesmith maintained her composure throughout the inquest, even as counsel for Dr Spall and Noosa Hospital questioned her memory of events.

Dr Spall will return to the stand this morning along with the doctor who first treated Summer in the Emergency Department.

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