Pre-term baby died following procedure to save her life, inquest hears

Pre-term baby died following procedure to save her life, inquest hears
Baby Abbey's parents attended Rotunda Hospital.

A pre-term baby died following an attempted blood transfusion to save her life, an inquest heard.

Baby Abbey Lespiaucq was undergoing a rare procedure because she was found to be anemic. The baby’s parents, who live at St Margaret's, County Dublin were attending the Rotunda Hospital for the care of their baby, Dublin Coroner’s Court heard.

The infant developed anemia due to the death of her red blood cells - a condition that can cause death if left untreated.

On Nov 15, 2017 tests in hospital revealed the baby was mildly anemic and mother, Elaine Lespiaucq, was brought back one week later for a follow-up check. The baby was deemed to be moderately anaemic at this point and a plan for an intra-uterine blood transfusion was made.

The procedure is technically challenging and is performed by a team of trained specialists, the inquest heard. The point where the umbilical cord inserts into the placenta is identified and most commonly the transfusion is given directly into the umbilical cord. Drugs are administered to stop the baby moving around.

Baby Abbey was 28 weeks when the intrauterine transfusion was carried out. Complications occurred and the infant was born by C-section and lived for 20 minutes before she passed away.

“The intra-uterine transfusion is risky and can cause death but if you don’t do it the baby may die,” Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane told the infant’s parents.

So it's a risk versus benefit situation. It’s very risky to treat the baby but the risk is high if the procedure is not done.

Pathologist Dr Emma Doyle conducted an autopsy and said there had been foetal bleeding post procedure.

The cause of death was due to complications of a high-risk procedure.

The Coroner returned a verdict of death as a consequence of a recognised complication of a transfusion and extended her sympathy to the parents.

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