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Aspiration of milk was a factor in the death of three-month-old baby, inquest hears

Cormac Lafferty died on 10 September 2016.

Image: RollingNews.ie

ASPIRATION OF MILK was a factor in the death of a three-month-old baby who became ‘inconsolable’ following a feed.

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 commonly occur together.

Doctors conducted open-heart surgery a month after his birth placing a shunt to direct blood from the heart to the lungs. Pediatric cardiologist Dr Damien Kenny told a resumed inquest into the baby’s death it was ‘miraculous’ he survived the operation.

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

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

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 10 September. 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 staff sought assistance as his oxygen saturation levels dropped first to 55% and then to 33%. At 6.20am the infant’s condition deteriorated rapidly when his oxygen saturation levels dropped to 20%. An emergency arrest call was made and cardio-pulmonary compressions (CPR) commenced.

Dr Kenny said baby Cormac’s desaturations were intermittent rather than persistent and the medical team were ‘not entirely sure what the cause of this was’,

“When I received the call my main concern as a cardiologist was there was a problem with the shunt,” Dr Kenny said.

Efforts to save baby Cormac’s life failed and he died shortly before noon on 10 September 2016.

The inquest heard the cause of death was connected to the baby’s heart defect and the aspiration of milk. The case continues tomorrow when the pathologist is due to appear as a witness before Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane.

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Louise Roseingrave

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