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Thursday, 18 September 2014

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Carlisle parents lodge treatment complaint after baby son's death

A coroner has ruled that a baby died from natural causes 15 hours after he was seen by a nurse at a Carlisle city centre medical practice.

An inquest heard that the parents of three-month-old Cayden O’Reilly have now formally complained about their son’s treatment at Carlisle’s Brunswick House Medical Group.

The nurse involved, Maried Brown, is suspended pending the outcome of an inquiry into her handling of the case early this year.

The hearing was told how Cayden’s parents – mum Jodie Clapperton and dad Chris O’Reilly, of Mayfield Avenue, Harraby – became concerned about their son’s breathing and so took him to the practice to be checked over on the morning of February 6.

During the hearing the couple said that they could hear their son’s chest “rumbling” when they took him in.

But nurse Brown examined him and concluded that his symptoms were those of a common cold and he should be treated as such – with Calpol for temperature control and tender loving care.

Her notes recorded the child had no raised temperature and otherwise seemed well.

In her evidence, the nurse said she told the couple that if they had any concerns or if different symptoms developed they should contact the emergency out-of-hours medical service CHOC.

Miss Clapperton challenged this, saying the nurse suggested their baby was healthy.

The inquest heard that the virus which caused the baby’s death – known as RSV – can in its early stages be undistinguishable in its symptoms from a common cold.

A pathologist who examined Cayden, who died at The Cumberland Infirmary in the early hours of February 7, said the virus was probably present when he was taken to the medical practice but the symptoms may have been “subtle”.

The cause of Cayden’s death was formally recorded as acute RSV bronchiolitis and broncopneumonia.

Dr Robert Westgate, from the Brunswick House surgery, said he would have examined the baby had he been asked to but he added that, presented with the symptoms nurse Brown recorded in her notes, he too would have given the same advice.

Returning his verdict, coroner Robert Chapman said he accepted that nurse Brown’s honest and objective opinion had been that the baby was suffering a head cold.

He added: “It’s clear from the medical evidence that this thing can develop massively quickly – particularly in small babies. My view is that this is what happened.”

He added that whether nurse Brown had acted rightly or wrongly was for others to decide in the separate medical investigation.

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