Sheffield baby died hours after doctors sent her home

Baby Alexia: Died on sofa.
Baby Alexia: Died on sofa.
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A BABY girl with a severe chest infection died just hours after she was sent home from Sheffield Children’s Hospital, an inquest heard.

Three-month-old Alexia Carnall-Cotterell, of Batemoor, Sheffield, had already stopped breathing twice when she was taken into hospital last year, her mum Nikki Carnall told Sheffield Coroner’s Court.

But after seeing two nurses and a doctor, Alexia was sent home at 2am without being admitted.

Just over five hours later paramedics were called out after she stopped breathing again.

They were unable to restart Alexia’s heart and she was pronounced dead in hospital.

Nikki, aged 20, of Whinacre Close, said Alexia had woken the day before her death, February 14, 2011, breathing with a rattling sound and unable to feed properly.

She took her baby to the city centre walk-in GP centre on Broad Lane, where Alexia was diagnosed with ‘a little virus’ and prescribed antibiotics.

A few hours later, at Nikki’s mother’s home in Arbourthorne, Alexia stopped breathing for five seconds.

Then, while Nikki waited for a taxi to take them to hospital, she stopped breathing a second time.

Alexia was examined at Sheffield Children’s Hospital before a doctor discharged her at 2am.

Nikki told the inquest: “I hoped they would admit her to keep an eye on her overnight.

“She had stopped breathing already and I was worried it would happen again.”

Nikki took Alexia back to her mum’s house, where she lay down on the sofa with her daughter beside her.

Shortly after 7am she awoke to find Alexia had stopped breathing. Paramedics were called but she had gone into cardiac arrest.

Pathologist Dr Marta Cohen listed bronchitis and early pneumonia as the main cause of death - but said she would not normally expect the infections to kill an infant.

She said: “You don’t see children with acute bronchitis dying - and the bronchio-pneumonia was in a very early form.”

Dr Cohen said risk factors associated with sudden infant death syndrome may have contributed to Alexia’s death.

“Her mother smoked cigarettes and cannabis during pregnancy and had a chaotic lifestyle,” Dr Cohen said.

The high room temperature - 26 degrees - could also have played a role.

Nikki said she had stopped smoking cannabis during her pregnancy - except for two drags when she went into labour - and had cut her smoking down to 10 cigarettes a day.

The inquest continues.