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baby death tradegy: still noanswers

Posted by on Jul. 29, 2007 at 11:03 PM
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Baby death tragedy: still no answers

A FOUR-month-old baby, whose bed was a single mattress which he shared with his mother, died of unknown causes, an inquest heard.Mrs Louise Swann told how she and her son, Mark McGowen, had temporarily been sharing the mattress on the bedroom floor at a relative's Brierfield home while she was waiting for permanent accommodation.

And she explained how she had occasionally woken to find her son with his blanket over his face, although pathologist Dr Naomi Carter, who carried out the post mortem, could not find a specific cause of death.

Baby Mark was born in Ireland before he, his mother, of Hope Street, Brierfield, and father came to Pendle. Mrs Swann said: "We all arrived together, but the relationship didn't work out. Three weeks after we got here his father disappeared off the face of the earth basically. We haven't seen him since."

Mrs Swann said Mark always slept at her right, at the top of the mattress, on his back with a blanket. "I always had the quilt away from him and would keep it below the bottom of his feet and below my waist. I'd seen him messing with the blanket. He used to chew it and cover his face with it," she said.

On the morning of October 4th, Mrs Swann said they woke as usual, she fed Mark and they played downstairs before returning to bed at 10-30 a.m. "with nothing different".

"I woke at noon," she said. "When I woke up I realised the cover was over his face and when I pulled it back his lips were blue and I knew something was wrong. It was not unusual for the blanket to be covering him. The pillow hadn't moved and he was still on his back."

Mark died the next day after being transferred from Burnley General Hospital to Pendlebury Children's Hospital, Manchester. Dr Carter said Mark had hypoxic brain damage as he had been starved of oxygen and had retinal haemorrhages. He also had a chest infection which could have been picked up in the hospital, or at home.

"I can't say which one of these was the cause of the death," she said.

The family told the inquest they had been held in the hospital for two hours as police were suspicious about the cause of the baby's injuries but East Lancashire Coroner Richard Taylor explained that retinal haemorrhages sound alarm bells and medics were bound to investigate.

Mrs Swann's father told the inquest the family had been through 10 months of hell and Mrs Swann spoke of their upset when told her son's organs and eyes were allegedly kept for testing without her agreement.

She said: "We were just told they had been retained and not told why. It was deeply upsetting. I truly believe the eyes are the way to the soul and my son was buried without his eyes."

Mr Taylor recorded an open verdict, saying: "We have seen that tests point in a number of directions. There a few things more tragic than the loss of an infant."

                       ...she saved me from myself...

by on Jul. 29, 2007 at 11:03 PM
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