A B.C. anesthesiologist is calling for a coroner's inquest into the death of a baby during a caesarian procedure, which she blames on insufficient staffing.

The infant was dead on delivery at Victoria General Hospital last week after its mother required an emergency C-section but had to wait for a standby anesthesiologist to be called in from home.

Dr. Sue Ferreira says the death might have been avoided if the obstetrics unit at the hospital had a dedicated anesthesiologist available at all times.

"A high-risk unit mandates having a dedicated anesthesiologist on call and immediately available to be there with the patient when something like this happens. We don't have this," she said.

"Backwards B.C., as I like to call it, is the only province that doesn't have dedicated obstetric coverage."

The Vancouver Island Health Authority says it cannot release any details of the case for confidentiality reasons, but confirms that a review in underway.

"The death of a newborn is one of the most tragic events that we see in this field," said Dr. Richard Crow, chief medical officer for the VIHA.

He added that the health authority wants to have a dedicated obstetric anesthetist at the hospital, but the medical specialists have not accepted the salary offered to them.