Baby died of natural causes after being born 12 weeks early, coroner rules

PUBLISHED: 06:44 04 February 2020 | UPDATED: 06:44 04 February 2020

Carrow House.

Carrow House. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2016

An inquest has ruled a three-month-old baby died of natural causes after she was born 12 weeks early.

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. NNUHNorfolk and Norwich University Hospital. NNUH

Irene Shminsky was born 12 weeks early at the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston and died of natural causes three months later due to serious health complications.

An inquest into her death, held at Norfolk Coroner's Court in Norwich yesterday, heard her mother, Chyna Shminsky, 43, was unaware that she was pregnant with twins until she went into labour on April 5, 2019, and was rushed to the hospital for an emergency caesarean section.

Irene was then transferred to the intensive care unit at the Norwich and Norfolk University Hospital (NNUH), where it became clear she was seriously ill.

She underwent surgery to try to treat a bowel condition, which was unsuccessful.

Following the operation, the baby needed parenteral nutrition feeding to keep her alive, which resulted in sepsis, a common side effect, the inquest heard.

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A second operation to try to rejoin her bowel was carried out, with the intention of fitting Irene with a Broviac line to make feeding easier.

But during the surgery, she experienced severe internal bleeding and following the surgery she was found to have suffered brain damage, the inquest heard.

The clinical team at the NNUH agreed further treatment would not be successful, and she died on August 2.

The inquest heard that following Irene's death, it emerged that during surgery her Broviac tube had been flushed with a saline solution 25 times stronger than it should have been.

Erika Denton, NNUH medical director, said: "Our sincere condolences go out to Irene's family following their loss. A full and thorough investigation took place following Irene's death and actions have been put in place to prevent a drug administration error like this happening again."

The NNUH has since reviewed its in-theatre drug labelling and storage system, and are encouraging staff to undergo training to reduce distraction during surgery.

Jacqueline Lake, senior coroner for Norfolk, said she was satisfied that this response was appropriate.

She concluded Irene died of natural causes, as a result of a bleed on the brain, intestinal failure related to liver disease and prematurity.

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