A newborn baby who had pneumonia died a few days after his breathing difficulties were dismissed by a family doctor, an inquest heard.

“On June 24 I went to my local doctor’s surgery and saw Dr Das because Mason had a sticky eye, a rash on his bottom and he was inhaling breath which was very noticeable,” said the mother, Sandra Charles.

The doctor told her it was all clear and said his eyes should be treated with shampoo. The inquest heard the doctor jotted down the family’s concern on a piece of paper, but lost it afterwards.

No prescription or further examination

Mason Kane was three weeks old when he was sent to the local GP after his parents found him to be panting and struggling with sticky eyes and a rash on bottom.

According to the inquest at Manchester Town Hall, Mason was not registered with the clinic, hence Dr Nandini Das, 55, wrote some details on a piece on paper but did not record the concerns on a computer database. She later misplaced the note.

Charles said, “She checked him over and told me to put shampoo in his eye to help with the problem but I refused to do this and asked for a prescription instead.”

“She didn’t examine his bottom and she listened to his chest but told me it was all clear and dismissed any concerns I raised – I left the surgery feeling angry.”

Five days later, he stopped breathing

Charles said Mason would not take his bottle and looked pale after returning home. The next morning when she put her in his crib, Charles “heard a strange gurgling noise and when I looked over at him his lips were blue”.

She grabbed the baby and ran downstairs screaming. Her husband took the baby and went into the street screaming for help in distress.

“A neighbour tried to revive Mason but he was taken to a local hospital then to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, where he died shortly afterwards.”

Mason died from multiple organ failures with tests showing that he had a blood clot on his lung. He was also found to have acute pneumonia but a pathologist believed it was resulted from being on a ventilator.

Mason’s father, Robert Kane, was so heartbroken that he committed suicide last year on his 36th birthday.

Doctor denied the accusations

In a hearing, Das said her surgery had since ensured records of unregistered patients were handled more efficiently and entered into the computer system.

“I don't recall the mother mentioning the breathing or problems with the bottom,” she said. “If I had any concerns about the baby's breathing I would have referred him to hospital and I would not have let him leave the surgery.”

However, Nigel Meadows, the senior coroner in Manchester said, “I think I prefer the account of Miss Charles. If Dr Das had a contemporaneous record that would be persuasive, but she didn’t.”

“[Miss Charles] said he had some unusual inhalation of breathing and that was one of the issues raised with Dr Das. It is unfortunate that although the doctor did a written manuscript of the conversation this was overlooked and no record was made.”

He added, “Sometimes babies can be born with an abnormal heart rhythm and there is no way of detecting this, and this can happen to anyone.” MIMS

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