Parents of Sheffield baby Cassian Curry: 'Hopefully his death won't be in vain'

A couple who lost their "miracle baby" after failings by staff at a South Yorkshire neonatal unit have described how they went from their "highest point down to hell".

James and Karolina Curry were speaking for the first time since a coroner concluded that neglect had contributed to the death of their son, Cassian, at the Jessop Wing in Sheffield.

He died at two days old after a feeding line was incorrectly inserted into his heart and opportunities were then missed to correct the error.

Mrs Curry said: "In the end it has been just heartbreaking to get from the highest point of your life, within the space of two days, down to hell, because that's what happened to us.

"It was a true horror."

Mr and Mrs Curry went through six rounds of IVF to have Cassian. They needed the treatment because Mr Curry was left infertile by chemotherapy after he was diagnosed with cancer aged 22.

Mrs Curry said: "We put our lives on hold, we just decided to go for it."

Mr Curry added: "Nothing can prepare you mentally for what you go through during that journey. All the failed attempts and the miscarriages, all the hurt and the pain that brings with it. That's why Cassian was so special for us."

Cassian was born at 28 weeks, weighing less than 2lbs, in April last year.

His inquest heard how an umbilical venous catheter (UVC), or feeding tube, was inserted in a "sub-optimal" position in Cassian's heart by two junior doctors.

The Jessop Wing where Cassian died. Credit: ITV News

The error was identified and neonatal consultant Dr Elizabeth Pilling told the inquest she intended to have the line repositioned within 24 hours, but waited because of the dangers of repeatedly handling a very premature baby. She then forgot to take action.

She told the inquest it was "impossible" to remember why she made the oversight, other than to say that the unit was extremely busy at the time.

  • The couple's lawyer spoke after the inquest

'We walk past his room every day and he's not there'

Cassian suffered a cardiac tamponade, a process where fluid builds up in the space around the heart, preventing it from pumping. He died on 5 April.

Assistant coroner Abigail Combes concluded a "gross failure" in Cassian's care contributed to his death.

Mrs Curry said: "When we lost Cassian we lost a massive chunk of our lives. Our lives changed incredibly within the space of seconds.

"You go through grief in your life, but losing a child – you can't describe the emotional and physical pain you experience. Losing any child is awful, but losing a child who was so special to us and such a big, big dream was just cruel."

Mr Curry added: "It's just gut wrenching - we walk past his baby room every day and he's not in it."

The coroner made a series of recommendations to prevent further similar incidents and the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said it had already made changes.

Mr Curry said: "Hopefully now his death won't be in vain and he will continue to save other babies in other neonatal units.

"He will now hopefully be not just our miracle baby but other people's miracle baby, saving other lives."