Drugs ‘may have made boy worse’

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A top doctor said drugs given to a six-year-old Sheffield boy could have ‘exacerbated’ his condition before he died.

George Cook, from Norton, was admitted to Sheffield Children’s Hospital when he began coughing, wheezing and struggling to breathe.

George, who had cerebral palsy after he was born prematurely at 25 weeks, was given medication for pneumonia and treatment with nebuliser sprays, as doctors attempted to clear his airway.

However, hours later his condition deteriorated and his heart went into an abnormal rhythm, which led to his sudden death last September.

A post-mortem examination showed he had myocarditis, a dangerous inflammation of the heart muscle, likely to have been brought on by a lung infection.

Dr Anjum Ghandi, a consultant paediatrician, told Sheffield Coroner’s Court he had reviewed medical literature.

He told the court there existed cases in which children had myocarditis, but did not present with any obvious symptoms.

He said: “It is incredibly difficult to know when the myocarditis process started. It could have developed over a length of time.”

However, he agreed the prescribing of salbutamol could have ‘unwittingly exacerbated’ George’s condition because it raises heart rate.

Dr Usha Niranjan, a specialist registrar at the hospital, who treated George before he died, had previously told the court the child did not have ‘any obvious signs of heart failure’.

The inquest continues.