Advising with empathy and experience

York baby died from undiagnosed heart defect.

AN 11-day-old baby died from an undiagnosed heart condition, less than six months before a new test that could have detected it was introduced at York Hospital.

York Coroner’s Court heard that Tommy Marshall John McKellar died in February 2015, only days after being released from the hospital following a healthy birth, and despite his parents' concerns about his health.

His parents, Natasha Pye and Andrew McKellar, said their baby's skin often appeared blue and occasionally purple, and they had asked midwives and hospital staff during their post-natal hospital stay, and at follow-up appointments, whether this was normal.

They said they were advised Tommy's colour was likely to be because he was cold, or from bruising during his birth, but a post mortem discovered he had a birth defect known as transposition of the great arteries, meaning they were the wrong way round.

This reversal caused blood with a poor oxygen supply to flow around the body and back to the heart, while blood rich with oxygen flowed from the heart to the lungs and back again.

Ms Pye said she was allowed to go home from hospital seven hours after giving birth, without seeing a paediatrician who was busy on the children's ward. Follow-up checks were to be done by her GP the following day.

She said: "I was quite happy to go home as he was feeding, he'd attached well, and seemed content."

Ms Pye said that, on the evening of February 1, 2015, she noticed Tommy was not breathing. She phoned emergency services while Mr McKellar performed CPR, and paramedics continued CPR on the way to hospital, but he died later that night.

The inquest heard that one of the most effective ways of detecting Tommy's condition was to monitor oxygen saturation levels. This had been introduced at York Hospital since his death, with the condition being picked up in two babies as a result.

York senior acting coroner, Jonathan Leach, said he had 'thought long and hard' if medical staff should have recognised Tommy's heart condition and referred him to a paediatrician, and had concluded the condition had not presented in such a way that they should.

He recorded a verdict that Tommy Marshall John McKellar died from natural causes.

 

 

 

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.