Boy, three, was 'near to death'

Relates to:
Date: 2004-11-24
Source: BBC

Two hospital staff have told a court that a three-year-old boy who died of salt poisoning and brain injuries was near to death on admission to hospital.
Ian and Angela Gay, of Halesowen, West Midlands, are accused of killing Christian Blewitt.

A sister and an anaesthetist at Russell's Hall Hospital told Worcester Crown Court the toddler's chances of survival were slim.

The couple both deny murder and one count of child cruelty.

'Abnormal urine test'

The court heard Christian Blewitt had been placed with the couple as prospective parents, together with his younger brother and sister, in November 2002.

He died in December 2002 of brain injuries and salt poisoning.

Susan Caynak was working as a sister at Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley, West Midlands, when the toddler arrived.

She told the jury: "His eyes were half closed, half open. He was unresponsive and initially, at that point, I thought he was dead."

Sister Caynak said an abnormal urine test was recorded and that Christian was administered saline through a syringe.

Louise Sykes, an on-call consultant anaesthetist at the same hospital, prepared Christian for transfer to Birmingham Children's Hospital.

Asked to describe Christian's condition, Dr Sykes said: "The sodium level, I felt, was incompatible with survival.

"He was something called decerebrate. (This is) a form of brain damage and there are different levels of brain damage.

"Decerebrate is the worst you can be without being brain dead and it's a very, very bad sign. I have seen very few people come back from.

"I would have said or implied that he might die and that the best place for him would be the Children's Hospital."

Dr Sykes was cross examined, saying she had not explained to Mr Gay that Christian was near to death but that he was "very, very poorly".

The case continues.

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