17 Jan 2013

Hospital checking eye drops link to infant death

5:02 am on 17 January 2013

Wellington hospital is carrying out an audit to see if there is a link between eye drops and a medical condition that kills bowel tissue following the death of a premature baby.

Coroner Garry Evans said the two-month-old girl died at the hospital in July 2011 from blood poisoning associated with tissue death.

Hannah Charlotte Hope Smith had surgery for abnormal blood vessel development in the eyes which included using a standard amount of eye drops to dilate the pupils for laser treatment.

About 27 hours after that operation, the girl underwent further surgery for tissue death related to the bowel.

A doctor told Mr Evans that the tissue death could have been a coincidence and there was no clear connection.

However, the hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit says it is checking cases of other infants in similar circumstances.

The unit is ensuring that only the smallest eye drop dosage is given to infants.