Sunday 17 February 2019

'Mum died of broken heart after she'd lost baby Cian' - daughter

Selina Hall died only three days after six-week-old baby Cian
Selina Hall died only three days after six-week-old baby Cian

The mother of a six-week-old baby who died from Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy died herself of a "broken heart" only three days later, her daughter said yesterday.

Cian Hall died on April 6, 2016, the day after he was discharged from the Coombe Hospital in Dublin, an inquest heard.

His mother, Selina Hall (33), from Cherry Orchard, Dublin 10, died three days later.

Speaking after her mother's inquest, Chloe Hall White (19) said she and her siblings "never wanted for anything" growing up.

"She was a great mother. She did everything possible for us within her power. She was a very soft woman, she never did anything to harm anyone," Ms Hall White said.

"She was devastated after baby Cian. She'd visited him every day in hospital. She fed him and came back to collect the others from school and went back into him.

"I really believe she died of a broken heart. She lived for her kids."

Cian was treated for withdrawal symptoms following his birth at the Coombe on February 24, 2016.

He was diagnosed with Neo-natal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) shortly after birth, a condition occurring when a baby is exposed to opioids in the womb.

His mother was on a methadone programme as part of her treatment for heroin problems she had experienced 15 years earlier.

Cian was put on morphine, which was gradually reduced as part of a weaning process before his discharge, Dublin Coroner's Court heard.

In addition, the baby was treated with phenobarbital, a sedative drug to help him settle.

He gained weight, his condition improved and he was discharged home to live with his parents at six-weeks-old.

Hours after he was discharged, he was found unresponsive by his mother at the family home.

His grandmother, Marie Daly, said she had administered his phenobarbital medication as part of his feed around one-and-a-half hours earlier.

Cian was taken to hospital and placed on life support but was pronounced dead the following day. A post-mortem gave the cause of death as Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy.

The child's past history of NAS on phenobarbital were noted as part of the coroner's narrative verdict.

There was nothing abnormal detected at the post-mortem, and the child's medication was present at normal levels, a toxicology report found.

"There is no pathological evidence to suggest drugs or injury played any role in his death," coroner Dr Myra Cullinane said.

Consultant neonatologist at the Coombe Hospital, Prof Martin White, said the child was medically fit to go home.


"There was no medical reason to keep him in hospital. I was satisfied he was fit to go home, as were my colleagues," Prof White said.

Three days after the child's death, on the morning when Cian's body was due to be returned to the family, Ms Hall was found unresponsive in bed. Her partner called for help after he found her at 7.15am.

She was taking prescribed medication as part of a methadone programme. A post-mortem found she died due to multi-drug toxicity with evidence of diazepam, methadone and alcohol in her system.

The coroner returned a verdict of death by misadventure.

"This was a mixture of all the different things in her system. On that night it was too much. She went into a deep sleep and stopped breathing," Dr Cullinane said.

Ms Hall White said: "She wouldn't have wanted to leave us but her heart was with the baby. She couldn't live without him."

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