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Death of baby girl in Fulwood hotel room remains unexplained

Posted on - 5th June, 2021 - 8:00am | Author - | Posted in - Fulwood, Preston News
Whitburn House Hotel. Pic: Google.

A baby girl died in a hotel room in Preston in unexplained circumstances, an inquest heard.

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Three-month-old Logan Lawson was found unresponsive by her mother at the Whitburn Hotel in Garstang Road on July 17 last year.

The inquest at Preston Coroners’ Court today (June 2) heard Logan and her mum were staying at the hotel, which was used as emergency accommodation, at the time she died.

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On July 16, Logan’s mum had spent the evening in the hotel lounge, drinking wine with the other guests, with her baby by her side.

The tot was later put to bed on her back in a travel cot, at the foot of her mother’s bed.

At 2.10am, Logan took a bottle feed and was put back in the cot, but when her mother woke at 7.30am the baby was unresponsive.

Emergency services rushed Logan to Royal Preston Hospital where they attempted resuscitation but she was pronounced dead at 8.30am.

Joanne Birch, lead nurse for sudden and unexpected death in childhood, gave a statement outlining some of the circumstances of Logan’s life and death.

Ms Birch said there were “a number of concerns regarding family environment and parental capacity.”

The court heard Logan’s mother lived a “transient” lifestyle, between Preston and Morecambe, and suffered mental health difficulties.

The infant had not been registered with a GP and had not attended for her six week check up or vaccinations.

However she had a normal delivery and was considered to be a healthy baby.

When officers attended the hotel room, they described it as “strikingly hot” with an ambient temperature of 24 degrees, with the window open.

Logan was dressed in a thick, fleecy sleepsuit, of the type used for outdoor wear, however she had not been covered with any blankets in the cot.

Although the room did not smell of cigarettes, there was evidence of smoking and Ms Birch said it was possible the baby had been sleeping in a smoky environment.

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Home Office Pathologist Dr Alison Armer carried out a post mortem examination but was unable to ascertain a precise cause of death.

She said: “The autopsy failed to identify any natural causes. Considering the circumstances provided to me, baby Logan was placed in a safe sleeping environment, on her back, on her own, in a cot at the foot of her mother’s bed.”

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Dr Armer said blood stained fluid found in Logan’s nose, mouth and lungs could be found in cases of upper airway obstruction.

She said there were also signs of hematoma (small bruises) to her heart.

But she said there was no evidence to suggest the baby had become entangled in bedclothes and no evidence to suggest a deliberate act of smothering.

The pathologist told the court she had also considered hyperthermia as a cause of death but said although Logan had been dressed in a warm sleepsuit, her mother had not covered her in blankets.

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She added hyperthermia would not account for the blood in Logan’s airways, or bruising to her heart area, which also ruled out a finding of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Area Coroner Richard Turner said: “The evidence of the post mortem demonstrates circumstances which would lead us to believe there was an acute upper airways obstruction.

“That can happen in a number of ways but we simply cannot identify what that was.

“That leaves me little option but to return an open conclusion.

“Logan Lawson died at 111 Garstang Road, Fulwood, on July 17 2020, however it has not been possible to ascertain a cause of death.”

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