Baby with heart defect happy and laughing before deteriorating

Mother tells coroner of child’s final moments

The mother of a baby with a congenital heart condition had to park in a housing estate and run to hospital to attend a vital appointment, an inquest has heard.

Anne-Marie Lafferty travelled 230km from Lifford in Co Donegal but could not find parking at Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin, Dublin. She ran with her baby to the hospital in a bid to attend an appointment with a heart specialist for her son, baby Cormac on September 6th, 2016.

Baby Cormac died in hospital four days later.

The infant and his twin brother Callum were born on June 16th, 2016, at the National Maternity Hospital.

Baby Cormac had been diagnosed with a congenital heart condition before he was born. His condition was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot, a combination of four related anomalies that commonly occur together.

He underwent open-heart surgery one month prior to his unexpected admission to hospital on September 6th, 2016. The infant was admitted the day of the appointment due to concerns over oxygen saturation levels.

He died in hospital four days later, Dublin Coroner’s Court heard. His mother said he was smiling and happy the night before he died.

“Cormac was laughing and smiling at me that night. He was a very alert baby, so full of life, always smiling. I fed him and went to bed. Before I left I saw he was sleeping peacefully,” Mrs Lafferty said.

She said she had no cause for concern leaving her baby.

A nurse woke the infant to feed him at 4am on September 10th. However, the baby didn’t finish the feed and became unsettled and began “crying inconsolably”, the nurse said.

Baby Cormac was found to be distressed by his own breathing efforts and morphine was administered to help him relax.

However, the infant’s condition deteriorated again suddenly at 6.20am when his oxygen saturation levels dropped to 20 per cent. An emergency arrest call was made and cardio-pulmonary compressions commenced.

Efforts to save the baby's life failed and he died shortly before noon. Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane adjourned the inquest to hear further medical evidence from a number of medical witnesses on a date to be decided.