A TWO-MONTH-OLD baby found unconscious in his parents’ bed died from a bacterial infection and not suffocation, a coroner has ruled.
Harmful Streptococcus B bacteria was found in the blood of baby Lewis Dowie, who passed away while sleeping between his mother, Rachel Haley, and his father, Damien Dowie, as they lay in bed on October 6 last year.
It was revealed at the Huddersfield inquest that Miss Haley, 16, and Mr Dowie, 19, woke from a night in watching DVDs and drinking beer at their Lepton home, to discover baby Lewis was not breathing and his lips were blue.
Miss Haley, a pupil at King James’ School, said she had moved Lewis into the bed from his cot earlier that night after he had woken up.
On discovering Lewis was not moving, Miss Haley woke up Mr Dowie, a tiler, who attempted to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
Miss Haley rang her mother and then an ambulance, while further attempts to save Lewis were taken.
Lewis was rushed to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary but he could not be revived.
The inquest heard that Miss Haley discovered she was pregnant on her 15th birthday and Lewis, her first child, was born a healthy seven pounds on August 28, 2007.
Although there were no problems with the birth, Miss Haley did have a virus during her pregnancy and she said the baby seemed to suffer with a cold all the time, would gulp his milk and was gasping for breath when fed.
In a statement Miss Haley said that in the fortnight before his death she had been concerned that Lewis had been sleeping a lot more than usual, had been struggling to go to the toilet and was not drinking as much milk as he normally would.
But on September 29 a health visitor had no concerns.
Dr Philip Batman, a pathologist at Bradford Royal Infirmary, said Lewis had not suffered any injuries that would indicate he had been suffocated or crushed in bed.
He said a number of marks on Lewis’s body were consistent with the attempts to bring him back to life and said the lack of any haemorrhaging to his face backed up his parents’ claims that he had been propped up on top of the duvet, meaning it was unlikely he had been prevented from breathing as he slept.
Doctors did discover some internal bleeding and found blood in Lewis’s lungs and blood stained mucus around his nose, but said there was no evidence that these had been inflicted.
And Dr Batman said there was no evidence of haemorrhaging to a neck gland linked to cot death – a common cause of death for babies – effectively ruling that out as a possible cause of death. But Dr Batman did tell coroner, Mr Roger Whittaker, that harmful Streptococcus B bacteria was found in Lewis’s blood stream.
Mr Whittaker said that that was the most likely cause of death and ruled Lewis had died from natural causes.