three staff suspended at top children s hospital after baby girl dies from huge morphine overdose

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Three staff at one of Britain's top children's hospital have been suspended and interviewed by police after the death of a baby girl, allegedly from a massive morphine overdose.

A probe was launched following the death of eight-week-old Hanna Faheem who was admitted with breathing difficulties, and died in her mother's arms.

The investigation is over the administration of a controlled drug and detectives are waiting for the results of pathology tests.

As her family prepared for her funeral, detectives arrived to halt the ceremony and Hanna's body was seized for a post-mortem examination.

Her mother Naseem Akhtar, from Sheffield said she initially believed her daughter had lost the fight for life against rare genetic condition Edwards' Syndrome, with which she had been born less than two months earlier.

But she was later told detectives were investigating whether Hanna was given 10 times too much morphine in Sheffield Children's Hospital, a 3.5mg dose instead of the correct 0.35mg.

'I feel as if my whole life has been turned upside down,' said 38-year-old Ms Akhtar.

'When the police came to the house and stopped the funeral that was the first we knew anything suspicious had happened.

'They said she may have been given too much morphine, 10 times more, and it had been realised an hour later.'

Hanna was born on October 21 last year at Sheffield's Jessop maternity wing, and soon afterwards doctors found she had Edwards' Syndrome.

The rare genetic disorder occurs when a child is born with three copies of chromosome 18, rather than the usual two.

Most babies die before birth, and the condition often causes trouble with feeding and breathing.

'They told me she had a limited lifespan, and that she needed to go home and spend time with her family,' her mother said

'She was such a beautiful baby, and very much loved.'

Nearly two months later, at around 10.30pm last December 16, Naseem noticed Hanna had a chesty cough and sore throat, so called an ambulance as she had been advised.

'One of the doctors said she was really poorly,' said Naseem. 'I said to the nurses, 'Can't you give her something to take the mucus out?'.

'One of the drugs was morphine, and the other was to relieve congestion in her chest.It seemed she was getting better, but at around 4am we were taken on to the ward. I picked Hanna up, and I was crying, because I knew there was something wrong happening. She died in my arms.

'When Hanna was born I was told that her life would be short. I was mentally prepared for that but she should not have died that morning.

'I knew my daughter's life would be short but she was loved just as much as if she would have lived a normal life.

'If the hospital had not made the mistake I would have had more time with her and they robbed me of that. The police told me that the hospital admitted they had given her too much morphine.

'But why didn't they tell me what had happened me she died? Instead I was allowed to take Hanna for her funeral which was arranged for later the same day.

'Then the police arrived and said it could not go ahead. It was heartbreaking. People need to be aware of what went wrong because mistakes like this should not happen.'

Hanna died at 5.30am the following day, and within hours the funeral was arranged at the Madani Masjid Mosque in Wincobank, with hundreds of mourners expected. But at 12.50pm CID came to the family home and stopped the funeral.'

An inquest has been opened and a police spokesman confirmed: 'South Yorkshire Police is currently investigating the death of a two-month-old child following admission to Sheffield Children's Hospital.

'The investigation regarding the administration of a controlled drug is ongoing, and officers are waiting for the results of a pathology report.'

A hospital spokeswoman said: 'We have been notified by the police that they are investigating a death at the hospital on December 17. As this is a police investigation, it would be inappropriate to comment further.'

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