Girl who choked to death at Manchester nursery a ‘rare’ tragedy as first aid made it WORSE, paediatrician claims

By Danielle Wainwright

A nine-month-old girl who choked on mashed up shepherd’s pie in Cheadle Hulme may have been made worse by nursery staff attempting to resuscitate her, an inquest heard.

Millie Thompson died at Ramillies Hall private nursery on October 23 2012 when she developed breathing difficulties and suffered cardiac arrest as staff attempted to revive her.

Nursery staff fought allegations they had panicked and consultant paediatrician Robert Downes, a specialist in sudden child deaths, said that Millie died from a blockage in her left lung.

He added that staff may have exacerbated the situation by putting air into her lungs, something that they would not have anticipated.

“It would have been very difficult. In the hospital this is a situation that would not be easy to diagnose unless one had access to X-ray,” he said.

“Paramedics receive training but they are not doctors.”

The hearing at Oldham Magistrates’ Court was told that Millie was given first aid and back slaps before a paramedic used a bag and mask to breathe air into her lungs.

Mr Downes added that the paediatric first aid training would not cover the level of expertise needed to spot the nature of the deterioration – in what he described was a ‘rare event’.

On the first day of the inquest Millie’s mother Joanne said that she wanted to know how her daughter who was healthy never came home from nursery.

Expert paediatric witness Dr Ian Maconochie, explained that the only effective treatment would have been a medical procedure where a needle is inserted to the chest to release the air pressure.

Even though paramedics are trained to carry out the procedure it would have been hard to diagnose the condition in a child.

Ofsted compliance investigator Martin Jeffs said schools need to ensure that at least one person on the premises should have a paediatric first aid certificate and Ramillies Hall had met that requirement on the day of Millie’s death.

Picture courtesy of Millie’s Trust, with thanks.

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