Cassian Curry: Sheffield mum speaks of heartbreak at losing 'miracle' IVF baby two days after birth

A premature baby who died two days after his birth last year was a 'miracle' baby for a Sheffield couple after multiple unsuccessful attempts to have a child of their own, an inquest heard.

Tuesday, 19th April 2022, 5:25 pm

Cassian Curry was born on April 3, 2021 at the Jessop Wing maternity unit in Sheffield at 28 weeks, but died in the early hours of April 5.

On the first day of an inquest into the death held at Sheffield Coroner's Court today, mum Karolina Curry said in a statement that Cassian was her and her husband James Curry's 'miracle baby' after James was diagnosed with testicular cancer.

The statement, which was read out by Assistant Coroner Abigail Combes, said that the cancer had started to spread further up to his body, which required not only surgery to remove a testicle, but chemotherapy treatment, which also reduced his fertility, meaning IVF treatment was needed.

Cassian Curry was born on April 3, 2021 at the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Trust's Jessop Wing maternity unit at 28 weeks, but sadly died in the early hours of April 5, 2021.

She said: “The first five attempts either failed or I miscarried. Being pregnant with Cassian seemed like a miracle and on our sixth attempt of IVF, after years of trying to become a family that we had always dreamed of, finally succeeded.”

She said on the morning of March 31, 2021, she started having abdominal cramps and a small amount of bleeding. She then contacted Jessops and was told to come so that her baby’s heart rate could be monitored.

She was then discharged the next day and was told there were 'no medical concerns'.

Her waters broke that night and Karolina rang the hospital again and was asked to go back in. She was later told that there was a possibility that her baby would be born early.

Jessop Maternity Wing in Sheffield

On April 3, she started having cramps and was 'in severe pain' but no one came to check on her, until 25 minutes later, the inquest heard.

She said: “I started to feel extreme pressure on my pelvis and I realised I must be in labour and my baby was coming. I was shouting and screaming and finally somebody came in. They said I was fully dilated and the baby's head was engaged.”

Within minutes, she said, Cassian was born, and he was taken to the neonatal ward where a feeding line needed to be fitted due to him being premature.

She, however, said that the type of line was never discussed with her and her husband and they were never told if there was an alternative to it.

Read More

Read More
Sheffield couple whose IVF baby died just two days after birth in Jessop Wing se...

‘His heart rate was spiking’

Karolina said she had the first skin-to-skin contact with Cassian the next day and that was when she noticed his heart rate was spiking above 200 and his oxygen had dropped to zero.

She said: “I asked one of the nurses if this was normal and she said it was and there was nothing to worry about.”

And during doctors’ rounds, the doctor in charge, Dr Elizabeth Pilling, gave a nurse a ‘dressing down’ after she found out that Cassian’s oxygen machine in his incubator had been switched off for 80 minutes.

“For 80 minutes, he was not getting any oxygen at all...I was stunned I could barely speak,” said Karolina.

On a separate occasion, she again noticed that Cassian's heart rate spiked, this time up to 208, but she and James were reassured that this was 'normal'.

“On April 4, James got a chance to have skin-to-skin contact with Cassian. Again, his heart rate was spiking to 208. This time something wasn't right but we were told there was nothing to worry about,” said Karolina.

“Cassian's chest looked raised and it looked a bit red and his chest looked swollen. I was getting anxious," she said, adding that the raised heart rates were not recorded by the hospital staff.”

She added: "We reassured each other that Cassian was in the best place to be cared for. We thought he was going to be okay.

“James had to leave that evening but I stayed a little longer before going back into the wards and trying to get some rest.

“That was the last time we saw our son alive. We desperately wished we could have spent more time with him.”

‘We feel we did not do enough to protect him’

Karolina said both she and James “still feel the guilt today for unknowingly placing him in so much danger”.

“We asked what we thought were the right questions but we both feel we still did not do enough to protect him,” she added.

Cassian’s funeral was held on April 30, 2021 and he was cremated.

Karolina said both she and her husband were ‘struggling so badly’ since their son’s death and that she could not bear to be alone.

“I was terrified I was not with James all the time, something awful would happen. I was not with Cassian and he died,” she said.

The parents' solicitor, Fay Marshall, from Switalskis Solicitors, said Cassian required total parenteral nutrition (TPN) and the delivery method decided upon was via umbilical venous catheter (UVC).

The inquest is expected to explore whether the UVC had been incorrectly sited, too close to the heart, and whether there was a failure to review its position and re-site it.

The hearing has been adjourned to Tuesday, April 20, where the hospital staff in charge of Cassian's care are scheduled to give their evidence. The coroner is expected to return with a conclusion on Friday, April 22.