We want to know why doctors did not spot the MRSA that killed our baby boy
Exclusive: Grieving couple want hearing to reveal how their precious infant caught deadly superbug
Published 06/08/2016 | 14:16
The distraught parents of a baby who died at just five-weeks-old, having been infected by the superbug MRSA, have revealed they were told by doctors their son had just a common cold.
Doting parents Louise Lynn and Sam Morrissey said they are still struggling to come to terms with the loss of baby Shea in November last year.
An initial post-mortem reported the cause of death as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, but a second report carried out in February pinpointed the superbug MRSA.
Now Louise and Sam want to raise awareness of the symptoms of the condition, which include a rash, drowsiness and breathing difficulties because they "never ever want another family to go through this suffering".
The Carrickfergus couple, who have been together for two years, said the arrival of their son on October 20, 2015, at Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital, weighing 5lb 15oz, "was the best thing in the whole world".
They gave him the pet name "our wee ducky" because Shea would pout his top lip, and were amused that he slept with his head resting on his arm and with one leg always poking out of the blanket.
"He was a good baby, very small and really placid," said Louise (30), who is also mum to seven-year-old Jai.
"We called him Shea Matthew John Morrissey after my granddad and dad, and he was so delicate and small that he just seemed to suit the name."
A good feeder, Shea was a "real wee guzzler", said Louise, and soon doubled in weight to 10lbs.
"Shea had big feet and he would always pop one of his legs out no matter what blanket he was wrapped in," she added.
"Every time I looked at him, all I felt was pride.
"It was so surreal that I couldn't believe he was mine, that this perfect wee boy, my beautiful son, was mine for life."
But at 11 days-old Shea developed a "rasping chest" and a rash on his face which "looked like bites", and he struggled to breathe if laid flat.
He was diagnosed with a common cold and given saline drops to clear his blocked nose but, less than four weeks later, on November 22, he was found dead in his Moses basket at home. Emergency staff rushed to resuscitate him but it was too late. Despite being in shock and racked with grief, however, his parents selflessly offered to donate his organs to give other babies a chance in life, but it was not possible.
A post-mortem confirmed the presence of an MRSA infection which had travelled down Shea's throat to his chest before finally attacking his heart.
Since the tragedy, Sam (20), a student, has been suffering with debilitating panic attacks and Louise said she constantly tortures herself with "what ifs?".
Throughout the pregnancy Sam slept with his arms around Louise so Shea would know his dad's heartbeat when he was born. He tearfully recalled his son's final hours.
"At around 4.30am Shea was really unsettled so I made him a bottle, but he only took an ounce of it," he said.
"He was very drowsy so I put him down for sleep - but he never woke up."
Only hours later, they found Shea was not breathing and called for an ambulance.
"I would not wish this on any child, not anyone, not even on my worst enemy," added Sam, who is also dad to three-year-old Jack.
"I can't explain how awful this has been. I'm trying to stay strong for Louise and keeping it all in but there have been days where we have sobbed and sobbed.
"We want answers from the inquest, including why this infection was never picked up."
Clutching his Rosary beads, he added: "The only comfort I have is that my son never sinned and that he is now in heaven."
Shea's inquest will take place next Friday at Laganside Court where both his parents, police officers and medical staff will give evidence about what happened to Shea.
Louise added: "I am glad to have those four weeks and five days with Shea than to never have them at all because they were the best ever.
"Although Shea is gone, I will never forget him and I'm almost glad that this pain that I suffer every day will be with me forever, because that pain is for Shea."
A spokesman for Belfast Health and Social Care Trust said: "We would be unable to comment in advance of the public inquest."