EXCLUSIVE Two-month-old baby who died in hospital after being fed contaminated baby food is named for first time – nearly a decade on from her death
- Two-month-old Aviva Otte died at Evelina Children’s Hospital in London in 2014
- She had been fed contaminated baby food at its neonatal intensive care unit
- Two other babies later died after becoming infected from contaminated food
A two-month old baby who died in hospital after being fed contaminated baby food has been named for the first time, nearly a decade on from her death.
Aviva Otte died at the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Evelina Children’s Hospital in London.
Her death at the hospital, run by Guy’s and St Thomas’ Trust, in January 2014 was six months before two other babies died after being infected with the same bacterium from a contaminated batch of baby feed.
ITH Pharma, who provided the total parental nutrition (TPN) feed was fined £1.2m by a Crown Court last year. 19 premature babies became infected across nine hospitals in 2014 from TPN.
At Evelina Children’s Hospital, Yousef Al-Kharboush was just nine-days-old and Oscar Barker 30-months-old when they died in June 2014 after being fed the feed infected with Bacillus Cereus. In Oscar’s case the bacterium wasn’t his sole cause of death.
Aviva Otte died at the the neonatal intensive care unit of Evelina children’s hospital in London
Aviva’s mother, Jedidajah Otte, indicated that she believes her daughter’s case should be joined with those of two other babies that died at Evelina Children’s Hospital that year
Evelina Children’s Hospital, in Lambeth, is run by Guy’s and St Thomas’ Trust
It is suggested that all three babies had been fed TPN whilst at Evelina Children’s Hospital.
Lawyers for the company argue that the inquests of all three babies scheduled to finally take place next year should be joined ‘in the interests of justice’.
Baby Otte’s mother, journalist Jedidajah Otte, was unable to attend the pre-inquest review but has indicated to the court that she believes her daughter’s case should be joined with those of Barker and Al-Kharboush.
Senior Coroner Dr Julian Morris will make a decision on whether to join the three babies’ inquests next year.
Clodagh Bradley KC, for ITH, told Dr Morris it was in the interests of public interest and practicality to join the inquests as there were ‘many overlaps’ between their cases.
‘We have set out the many similarities between the infections of the babies,’ she said.
‘These two contamination events occurred five months apart and concern the same bacteria.
‘On the source of the contamination, there are likely to be common factual issues between these three cases.’
Ms Bradley added that the source of the January contamination which infected baby Otte was likely to be the same as that of the infections of the other two babies, which she said was ‘linked to cardboard packaging’.
‘To find the source,’ she argued, ‘One needs to look further. These two outbreaks… Will inevitably be overlapped.
‘There will be many, many areas where there will be an overlap.
‘If we were to have two inquests, there is a risk of inconsistent evidence and outcomes.
‘It has surely got to be in the public interests and those of the interested parties to link the inquests.’
Ms Bradley added that joining the inquests could even prove important in preventing similar deaths occurring in the future.
‘We are not only looking at how these infants came by their deaths, but also if there are further risks due to a lack of communication,’ she continued.
‘It’s in the interests of justice to hear these matters together.’
Ms Bradley added that ITH would be bringing an expert witness on contamination to the inquest.
There will be a further pre-inquest review next, prior to the full three-week inquest on September 9
However, Jim Duffy, representing the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), argued the expert would only be able to deal with the batch of TPN relating to the later deaths of Al-Kharboush and Barker, and not baby Otte.
He said: ‘The expert deals with the batch not manufactured until April 24, 2014.
‘Otte came to her death in January 2014.
‘The batch provided to the others was manufactured in April 2014, three months after baby Otte came to her death.’
Dr Morris, after setting deadlines for the disclosure of documents between the parties, also asked the parties to streamline the documents in the case – which run to some 5,000 pages in total.
He said he would deal with whether the three babies’ inquests would be joined together at a later stage, but confirmed they would take place in September next year.
Dr Morris explained: ‘From my perspective, I am not going to give you an answer now.
‘I need to review all the relevant documents. I appreciate that the matter was listed to be heard, but all I will say is that that was quite ambitious.
‘At the moment we are not in a position to hear an inquest.
‘It won’t surprise you all when I say we are going to need another PIR (Pre-inquest Review).’
A further PIR will be held in late April or early May next year, with the date of September 9 set for a three-week inquest.
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