No answers to death of Burnley baby girl

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The mother of a baby girl who died at home still does not have any answers as to how she met her death.

Four-month-old Elizabeth Goater was found unresponsive by her mother Michela Hall at their home in Burnley on January 11th.

An inquest at Burnley Coroner’s Court heard evidence from paediatric pathologist Dr Melanie Newbold who said she was unable to give a cause of death following a post-mortem examination.

Baby Elizabeth was born by Caesarean section six weeks premature on September 10th, but had been discharged two weeks later and was developing well. Miss Hall told the inquest she had fed Elizabeth just before 1am and then paced her in a Moses basket. She found her unresponsive at 7am later that morning. Elizabeth had spent three days on the neo-natal intensive care unit following her birth. Dr Newbold said: “Elizabeth had been feeding normally, and I found no evidence of infection, viruses or metabolic disease. She was a little girl but was doing quite well. Sadly, we cannot find a cause of death. It has been known for some time that babies die suddenly in their first year of life. It used to be called cot death or sudden infant death syndrome, but neither of these terms are particularly helpful. We know there are certain factors associated with this type of death, and premature birth can be one. Medical science, however, has not progressed far enough yet to explain why.”

East Lancashire Coroner Mr Richard Taylor recorded a conclusion of undiagnosed natural causes.

He said: “The pathologist has excluded a lot of possible causes. You have my wholehearted sympathies and condolences. This was an absolute tragedy that couldn’t have been anticipated.”