1. ITV Report

Baby dies after being given laughing gas instead of oxygen

Credit: Bankstown Hospital

A baby has died and another is in a serious condition after a Sydney hospital administered nitrous oxide instead of oxygen.

The newborn babies were being treated at a neonatal resuscitation unit at Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital when they were accidentally given the gas known as 'laughing gas', reports 7News.

The health minister for New South Wales confirmed the incidents, saying the oxygen outlet was incorrectly installed and certified by a gas company BOC Limited.

I am profoundly sorry for the families of a newborn who died and another newborn who was severely affected after the wrong gas was dispensed through a neonatal resuscitation outlet at Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital.

The families were advised the oxygen outlet in one of the hospital's theatres was incorrectly installed and certified by BOC Limited in July 2015.

The error was discovered last Thursday (July 21) after a paediatrician raised concerns about the unexpected death of the second baby, which has been referred to the Coroner.

– NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner

Investigations into the error are ongoing.

Nitrous oxide is used in some medical procedures such as dental work, and gets the term 'laughing gas' from the euphoria it can induce in those that inhale it.