Doctor under investigation after baby’s death at Barnsley hospital

Baby Summer Hawcroft died at Barnsley Hospital last year.
Baby Summer Hawcroft died at Barnsley Hospital last year.
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A coroner is to ask the police to investigate a doctor whose ‘error’ led to the death of a baby.

Summer Hawcroft, who was born prematurely at 27 weeks, was on a ventilator on the special care ward at Barnsley Hospital when her breathing tube dislodged, starving her of oxygen.

Stephen and Michaela Hawcroft at Medico legal Centre during the inquest into the death of their baby Summer

Stephen and Michaela Hawcroft at Medico legal Centre during the inquest into the death of their baby Summer

She went into cardiac arrest and later died aged just 49 days old.

Now the case has been adjourned for police to investigate the conduct of paediatric consultant Dr Vishwanath Kamoji, who was on duty when the tube was displaced on May 4, 2011.

Earlier the court heard Dr Kamoji failed to reintubate Summer when he first assessed her. He also requested an X-ray which he then failed to look at, and sought a second opinion despite nurses expressing concern the tube needed attention urgently. Experts described his inaction as a ‘fundamental error’.

Coroner Chris Dorries said: “I find this an immensely difficult decision because I appreciate life can be difficult for doctors when acting in emergency situations. But overall I take the view that the delay was extraordinary, and it is a matter where I should ask the police to review the facts.”

Matthew Brown, of Raleys Solicitors, acting for of Summer’s parents Stephen and Michaela Hawcroft, of Kendray, said: “Although they continue to grieve for Summer, my clients are pleased Mr Dorries has recognised the magnitude of the failures in care at Barnsley Hospital by referring the case to the CPS.”

A spokesman for Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: “We have co-operated fully with the coroner in the investigation and this will of course extend to the CPS.”

Dr Kamoji no longer works at Barnsley Hospital.