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Baby died next to mum with history of 'chaotic alcohol abuse' who'd drank bottles of wine

Daily Express logo Daily Express 24/01/2023 Liam Doyle, Eddie Bisknell
Mother and baby © GETTY - STOCK Mother and baby

A baby died from "preventable harm" after its mother downed "two or three" bottles of wine and fell asleep, a report has confirmed. The Derby and Derbyshire Children's Safeguarding Board has published an account of a child born to a mother with a history of "chaotic alcohol abuse" who died after authorities "underestimated" her condition. The board issued the heartbreaking report detailing a selection of failures that contributed to the child's death with hopes that officials could avoid a similar outcome.

According to the report, the father of Baby A - as the child was named by the Derby Telegraph - found the baby dead aged six months when he returned home one night.

He found the mother asleep in a chair with the baby resting between her arm and the chair's armrest.

While resuscitation attempts were partly successful on the "apparently lifeless" baby, it died two days later.

The mother later admitted to having drunk the wine before passing out in the chair.

Pregnant woman © GETTY - STOCK Pregnant woman

Baby A's mother was an alcoholic who linked her habit to stress and received treatment for anxiety and low mood.

The report states that she and her child were both assessed, with a substance misuse midwife on hand for the mother and others evaluating the child's health needs.

Professionals "confronted" her over the alleged alcohol misuse but ultimately accepted her insistence that her usage was "under control" before the child died.

But family members presented a much different image of the unwell mother.

Wine © GETTY - STOCK Wine

The father and the mother's family painted a picture of "persistent, heavy drinking".

The account, which concluded the alcohol habit persisted for "many years" was "very different from that presented by Baby A's mother herself", the report added.

The report found "no clear risk assessment" was used to identify whether the mother's addiction interfered with her ability to provide for her children.

Officials concluded that the poor communication meant the risks were left "unrecognised and underestimated".

And the child ultimately died after its mother downed multiple bottles of wine.

The report mentioned Baby A as one of three infants who died after they were born into families that faced "challenges in their lives to a varying extent".

They had died following input from a "variety of practitioners" with a "high level of care and expertise" but a lack of recognition or appropriate estimation of the risks.

The report identified a selection of factors that needed additional investigation from officials.

They include the "levels of and triggers for stress experienced by the carers of all three infants" and past knowledge of stress.

These, the report said, were "not factored into professional assessments".

The report added: "Some practitioner assessments made assumptions that were based on limited contact and information.

"The significant sense of shock experienced by practitioners when these infants suffered preventable harm, whether intentional or unintentional, reinforces the fact that risk had been largely unrecognised and unassessed."


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