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Inquest Told Of 'Gross Failure' In Baby Death

Thursday November 8 2012



AN EXPERT paediatrician told an inquest there had been a 'gross failure' to treat a premature baby who later died from a severe brain injury.

Summer Hawcroft, of Lambert Road, Kendray, was born by emergency caesarean section at 27 weeks.

She was put on a ventilator at Barnsley Hospital's special baby care unit but went into cardiac arrest when a vital breathing tube became blocked weeks later.

She died when she was 49 days old.

An inquest was told that during the night of May 3, through to May 4, 2011, Summer suffered two episodes of hypoxia - a deficiency of oxygen reaching the tissues.

A nurse was uncomfortable with how a tube had been fitted and with the tape placed on Summer's face.

Later, other nurses became unhappy with the tube and called for locum paediatric consultant, Dr Vishwanath Kamoji, to seek a second opinion.

A second doctor, who shared the view of 'if in doubt, take it out', arrived ten minutes later and the tube was replaced.

An earlier x-ray available ten minutes before the second doctor arrived could have shown if the tube had been too highly placed, but was not looked at.

Dr Martin Ward Platt, answering coroner Chris Dorries' questions, said inaction during a 20 minute period amounted to gross failure and that the tube should have been removed earlier.

Mr Dorries asked had the tube had been extubated earlier, when the nurses first wanted it to be, would Summer have survived.

Dr Ward Platt said Summer had suffered two episodes of hypoxia during the night, neither of which would have caused death or disability, but a combination of the two could and was very likely to have done so.

He said the second episode of hypoxia contributed significantly towards her death, alongside the first earlier episode.

The inquest was adjourned.