Four-day-old baby boy dies after falling asleep next to his mum sleeping on sofa

A four-day-old baby died after falling asleep next to his mum on a sofa, an inquest into his death has ruled.

Jory Mark Herbert James’ mother Emma was in so much pain from a C-section birth that she couldn’t get upstairs to the bedrooms at her property in west Cornwall.

An inquest into Jory’s death on June 20, 2020, was held in Truro today, with Miss James telling the hearing that no help with accessibility was offered following her discharge from hospital.

Although medical experts were unable to pinpoint exactly how Jory died, it is possible he may have overheated or suffocated on a blanket that Miss James found over his head when she woke up, Cornwall Live reports.

Giving evidence at the inquest was paramedic Andrew Caves, who described in a statement how he was sent to the property just after 6.30am on the day in question.

Fine art and ceramics student Miss James was found administering CPR to Jory on paramedics’ arrival, telling them that Jory was unresponsive when she woke.

Jory was taken to hospital but had already died.

The inquest heard Miss James slept on the sofa with Jory in a Moses basket on the floor the night before finding him unresponsive, as she couldn’t get upstairs.

Miss James took Jory from the basket between 3am and 4am and fed him, before propping him up next to her with cushions. Jory fell asleep first, but then Miss James woke and found him floppy and not breathing.

Senior coroner for Cornwall Andrew Cox was told that a post mortem exam was unable to record a cause of death.

The official cause of death was given as unascertained.

Giving evidence, Miss James said that her son’s death was avoidable as she was offered no help with mobility and getting around the house on leaving hospital, despite her pain.

She was also visited by a midwife once she arrived home but no extra assistance was forthcoming.

Dc Tamsin May said there was no evidence of alcohol or drugs at the property and as a result of the investigation, no criminal charges were brought.

Summing up the evidence, Mr Cox said: “Miss James was discharged home the day after delivery. She was discharged home to look after Jory on her own.

“Miss James was in discomfort and pain from the operation and was prescribed medication which may have helped with the discomfort but didn’t remove it.

“She was seen by a midwife on June 19 and at that appointment Miss James said she was struggling with mobility and asked for assistance.”

Mr Cox said that Miss James last fed Jory between 3am and 4am and then snuggled him next to her on the sofa as she couldn’t get upstairs.

He added that when she woke she found unresponsive Jory covered by one of the blankets.

Despite the best efforts of paramedics and clinicians, Jory could not be resuscitated.

Mr Cox said that despite a comprehensive investigation, a cause of death could not be identified.

Suffocation on the blanket or overheating were both possible, but couldn’t for sure be classified as a cause of death, Mr Cox ruled.

Mr Cox recorded an open conclusion and expressed his sympathies to Miss James.