A newborn succumbed to an untimely death in less than an hour post-birth, after being administered laughing gas instead of oxygen at the Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital in Sydney. Recent reports allege that hospital staff accidentally pumped nitrous oxide into the infant's body as a result of an “installation error” that had gone unnoticed for over a year.

The unfortunate incident took place on July 13, 2016, but an inquest was held at the Lidcombe Coroners Court this year on the exact same date, which could’ve been the dead infant’s fifth birthday.

Ghanem was struggling with breathing issues and was reportedly placed in a resuscitation area after doctors observed a loose part of his umbilical cord being wrapped around his neck, which impaired regular breathing. The condition was attributed to the presence of bacteria linked to neonatal sepsis in his mother’s system.

Doctors then fitted a mask to the boy to pump air into his lungs. But, after he was failing to respond well, they hooked the mask up to a gas line labeled as oxygen, reports Mirror. Thus, the equipment was employed in a desperate bid to get him breathing. Repeated efforts were made to get him to breathe which included CPR, life support, and an adrenalin shot.

In a shocking reveal, counsel assisting the Coroner Donna Ward revealed to the court that testing of a new gas panel installed in the theatre was not done “adequately or at all”, reported Kidspot.

The mix-up came to the notice of medical experts, who got to know of a similar tragic incident that had occurred in India. In a court hearing at Lidcombe Coroners Court, it was revealed that the child was born out of an emergency cesarean section.

“I come home and look at his room and no baby. I went in [to the hospital] empty-handed thinking I'll hold my newborn but no,” revealed Sonya, the deceased baby’s mum.

Five years since the accident, Ghanem’s parents Sonya and Youssef revealed that there isn’t a day when the two don’t go into his bedroom in the hopes of finding him in his cot.

Cases of fatal accidents in operating theatres have seen an uptick in recent times. Shortly before Ghanem’s unfortunate death, another baby named Amelia Khan had suffered permanent brain damage as a result of being administered laughing gas in the same operating theatre.

Further probe is underway as the inquest continues.

Newborn baby
A premature baby, who was found covered by hundreds of ants after being left in a garbage dump for hours, reportedly died while undergoing treatment at a hospital in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, India on Friday, June 17. This is a representational image. Photo by esudroff/Pixabay