Wednesday 18 September 2019

Aspiration of milk a factor in death of baby with heart defect

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Stock image

Louise Roseingrave

Aspiration of milk was a factor in the death of a three-month-old baby who became "inconsolable" following a feed, an inquest has heard.

Baby Cormac Lafferty was born with a congenital heart condition in June 2016.

His condition was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot, a combination of four related anomalies that occur together.

Doctors conducted open-heart surgery a month after his birth, placing a shunt to direct blood from the heart to the lungs. Paediatric cardiologist Dr Damien Kenny told a resumed inquest it was "miraculous" he survived the operation.

Cormac returned home to Castlefin, outside Lifford, Co Donegal, where he thrived alongside twin Callum.

His mother Anne-Marie Lafferty returned to Our Lady's Hospital in Crumlin with Cormac in September 2016 for a check-up and doctors admitted the baby due to concerns over his oxygen saturation levels.

Ms Lafferty previously told the inquest her son was smiling and happy the night before his unexpected death.

"Cormac was laughing and smiling at me that night... I fed him and went to bed. Before I left I saw he was sleeping peacefully," she said.

A nurse woke the infant to feed him at 4am on September 10. However, the baby didn't finish the feed and became unsettled and began "crying inconsolably", the nurse said.

Morphine was administered to help him relax.

At 4.45am, his oxygen saturation levels dropped. At 6.20am the infant's condition deteriorated rapidly when his oxygen saturation levels dropped again to 20pc and CPR commenced.

Dr Kenny said Cormac's desaturations were intermittent rather than persistent and the medical team were "not entirely sure what the cause of this was".

Efforts to save Cormac's life failed and he died shortly before noon on September 10, 2016. The inquest heard the cause of death was connected to the baby's heart defect and the aspiration of milk.

The case was expected to continue today when the pathologist is due to appear as a witness.

Irish Independent

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