Burnley General Hospital baby death probe
THE parents of a baby boy who died at just three days old have told an inquest he should not have been discharged from hospital.
Fletcher Kennedy was not sleeping, refused to feed and had turned grey but was still allowed to return to his Nelson home, his mum Gemma Smith told Burnley Coroner’s Court.
She also claimed midwives made errors in their notes about Fletcher's condition during his care at Burnley General Hospital.
Miss Smith, 35, and Fletcher’s dad, Sean Kennedy, shook their heads in disbelief several times as medical staff gave evidence on the first day of the inquest at Burnley Town Hall.
Miss Smith said staff had wrongly noted that Fletcher had passed urine and that he was breast-feeding comfortably.
Fletcher was born on February 14 last year weighing 7lb 7oz after Miss Smith underwent a Caesarean section, as she had done when giving birth to her two previous children.
He died on February 17 at Royal Blackburn Hospital after he stopped breathing at his mum’s Sherwood Close home.
When he was born, doctors at Burnley’s Lancashire Women and Newborn Centre immediately noted that Fletcher had a low set of ears, a small chin and a fat pad at the back of his neck.
Giving evidence, Miss Smith, a secretary, said: “I was a bit shocked. You read up on all sorts of things when you’re pregnant.
“He was referred to a paediatrician but after that I didn’t really think about it.”
Fletcher also had a heart murmur and his parents were told a follow-up check would be needed in six to eight weeks.
On February 15, Miss Smith said she raised concerns with midwife Lola Wild that Fletcher had yet to pass urine since he was born.
She said: “He was bone dry. I kept three nappies at the bottom of the bed and asked the nurse to check them.
“She picked them up, said they felt alright and threw them in the bin. She thought he was weeing. Neither me nor Sean saw him having a wee.”
She added: “He was crying constantly from tea-time right through. I was getting distressed that he wasn’t settling.”
After breast-feeding successfully on the day he was born, Miss Smith said she became concerned that Fletcher ‘was not settling’ following feeding and requested bottled milk from staff.
The following morning, on February 16, staff noted that Miss Smith was breast-feeding ‘every two hours’, but she said that was untrue.
Miss Smith said: “He wasn’t a good colour. All they put his crying down to was wind.”
When Fletcher was discharged, at around 4pm on February 16, he returned home, but was rushed to Blackburn A&E early the following morning.
Miss Smith said: “He seemed to be going quiet. He was probably on his downward spiral.”
East Lancashire coroner Richard Taylor also heard from Dr Fiona Clark, Dr Thangavel Chandrasekera and Dr Chi-Ning Mo, who treated Miss White before and after Fletcher’s birth.
They noted that Fletcher appeared jaundiced after birth and also suffered from low glucose levels.
Dr Mo said it was possible that Fletcher had died from sudden infant death syndrome.
Mr Taylor will hear from a pathologist who carried out the post-mortem examination before concluding the inquest today.