Sheffield baby’s breathing tube was ‘in the wrong place’

Summer Hawcroft
Summer Hawcroft
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A PROBLEM with a breathing tube which caused a premature baby to suffer fatal brain damage was not properly identified by doctors for more than two hours, an inquest heard.

Tiny Summer Hawcroft was on a ventilator in Barnsley Hospital’s special care baby unit when the tube became dislodged.

She went into cardiac arrest and was revived following efforts by medics - but lack of oxygen meant she suffered devastating brain damage, leading to her death when she was 49 days old in Sheffield’s Jessop Wing last June.

Paediatrician Dr Sunitha Sampath told a Sheffield coroner she received an emergency ‘crash call’ at 1am on May 4 and found not enough air was reaching the baby’s lungs.

She said a consultant decided the size of the tube ‘could be a problem’, and changed it for a larger fitting at 2.40am.

Dr Sampath added: “I remember the baby was put back in the ventilator, and she was still needing high oxygen.

“It was felt OK to leave her for an hour or so to see what happens.

“If a premature baby is upset then they can need extra oxygen.”

She said she was called to check Summer’s blood results at 5am and saw the baby’s condition had deteriorated further.

“I remember checking the tube position very clearly, so we were not dealing with a tube that had come out - it was quite obvious to me the tube was in the wrong place.”

Dr Sampath said she told colleagues the device needed to be removed but her concerns were initially ignored, and another consultant was requested to attend.

Summer was transferred to the Jessop Wing in Sheffield once her brain injuries were discovered.

She died in the arms of her mother Michaela, aged 26, from Kendray, Barnsley.

The inquest continues.