Baby death inquest: Sheffield doctor defends her decision to discharge infant

Tragic: Alexia Carnall-Cotterell.
Tragic: Alexia Carnall-Cotterell.
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A DOCTOR who discharged a tiny baby from a Sheffield hospital hours before she died told an inquest the infant’s mum was ‘keen’ to get home.

Three-month-old Alexia Carnall-Cotterell, of Whinacre Close, Batemoor, had already stopped breathing twice when she was taken to Sheffield Children’s Hospital in February last year.

Junior doctor Syeeda Alam examined the tiny tot, diagnosing a ‘wheeze-associated viral illness’, she told Sheffield Coroner’s Court.

She gave Alexia an inhaler and discharged the baby at 2am.

Five hours later Alexia’s mum Nikki, aged 20, woke to find her baby had gone into cardiac arrest.

Paramedics were unable to restart her heart and she was pronounced dead in hospital.

A post-mortem examination showed she had acute bronchitis and early bronchio-pneumonia.

Dr Alam, a trainee GP who had only started working at the Children’s Hospital two weeks earlier, told the inquest she was satisfied with her assessment that the baby should be discharged.

She said: “Her mum was quite keen to go home.”

Assistant deputy coroner Julian Fox asked the doctor: “Why did you get that impression?”

Dr Alam replied: “She said she was tired.”

She later added: “The mum was happy with the plan during discharge and expressed no concerns.”

Nikki had previously told the inquest she had wanted the hospital to admit her daughter so they could observe her overnight.

“I was shocked they would let her out at that time of the morning with her being so young and so ill,” she said.

Dr Alam said her treatment plan - to give Alexia an inhaler and then observe and reassess before discharging - had been approved by the on-call consultant. The inquest was adjourned until October.