A coronial inquest has heard how a young mother died after delays in the diagnosis and treatment of a flesh-eating bacteria.

Sara Lorraine Hampel, 21, had given birth just over a week before she was taken to Gove Hospital at Nhulunbuy in the early morning of October 14, 2011, complaining of severe cramp-like pains in her right leg.

Northern Territory Coroner Greg Cavanagh heard it took doctors hours to even consider she was suffering from necrotising fasciitis, an infection of the tissue surrounding muscle.

The inquest in Darwin heard the bacteria, which caused severe sepsis in Mrs Hampel, went undiagnosed and untreated with antibiotics until the late afternoon, by which stage she had become critically ill.

Mrs Hampel suffered a cardiac arrest and died on a Careflight plane later that night as she was awaiting transportation to Royal Darwin Hospital, about 600 kilometres to the west.

The inquest continues.