Two-month-old baby died at London hospital after being fed contaminated baby food

Aviva Otte has been named for the first time as a two-month-old baby who died at Evelina Children’s Hospital, London, 2014, before two other infants who also had fed contaminated baby food

Evelina Hospital in London

Image: Evelina Hospital)

A two-month-old baby who died in hospital after being fed contaminated baby food has been named.

Aviva Otte passed away in the neonatal intensive care unit at Evelina Children’s Hospital, London in January 2014. Her death at the hospital, run by Guy’s and St Thomas’ Trust, was six months before two other babies died after being infected with the same bacterium from a contaminated batch of baby feed.

Yousef Al-Kharboush was just nine-days-old and Oscar Barker 30-months-old when they died in June 2014 after picking up bacillus cereus from the feed. In the case of Oscar’s death the bacterium wasn’t his sole cause.

ITH Pharma, who provided the feed total parental nutrition (TPN) subsequent to the death of Aviva Otte, was fined £1.2m by a Crown Court just last year after an investigation found that 19 premature babies were infected across nine hospitals the same year Aviva died. But the batch that killed Aviva came before ITH Pharma produced TPN and the company did not provide the batch that led to her being contaminated.

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It will be decided by Senior Coroner Dr Julian Morris next year if all three inquest into the deaths at Evelina Children’s Hospital will take place together. Clodagh Bradley, legal counsel for ITH, claimed it was in the public interest to have the inquests at the same time as there were “many overlaps” between their cases.

She reportedly told Dr Morris: “We have set out the many similarities between the infections of the babies. 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.”

Baby Otte’s mother, Jedidajah Otte, was unable to attend the pre-inquest review but she said she also wants her daughter’s case to be joined with those of the other two babies who lost their lives.

Ms Bradley stated it is likely that the cause of the contamination that killed Aviva was the same as that which led to the infections in the other two babies which she claimed was “linked to cardboard packaging”.

She, reported the Daily Mail, continued: “To find the source 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.”

Joining the inquests together would also be beneficial to help prevent similar tragedies happening in the future, said Ms Bradley, as not only how the deaths occurred are being looked into but also if there are “further risks due to a lack of communication”. She claimed that it was in the interest of justice that the cases are all heard together. A further pre-inquest review is set to be held in April or May next year before a three-week inquest starts on September 9.

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