Baby dies of "fentanyl intoxication" after mum's pain relief patch gets stuck to her skin while sleeping
Amelia Cooper’s blood samples revealed fentanyl levels high enough to kill an adult, according to the coroner's report.
An inquiry into the death of Amelia Cooper concluded the cause of her death as "fentanyl intoxication." Back in June 2016, 15-month-old Amelia Cooper was found lifeless in her mother Sara Talbot's bed in Cornwall. Later it was found that a her mum's fentanyl pain relief patch got attached to her skin as she slept with her.
According to the coroner's report, when little Amelia had come into contact with her Sara's medication, she got exposed to a drug called fentanyl opioid ( stronger than morphine), which got transferred to her system; ultimately leading to her death.
Little Amelia was a "normal" and "healthy" baby before she died of the overdose, said reports.
According to the forensics, the patch was allegedly stuck to the toddler's stomach for a certain period of time, allowing the drug to enter her bloodstream. However, according to the a toxicology report, the drug was found in Amelia's blood, bile and hair samples, but not in the stomach.
The Bodmin Magistrates Court heard from pathologist Dr. Debbie Cook that Amelia's blood sample report indicated levels of fentanyl in her system that were within the range of an adult dying of fentanyl toxicity. "There were no external injuries to contribute to the death, there was no natural disease, and the relevant findings are the toxicological findings," Cook had said.
She further expounded that "the drug can cause a reduction in breathing, a reduction in blood pressure and in some cases seizures." And also added, "When levels become high there will be a coma and in high levels such as this case, then it can be fatal."
Many adulterers mix heroin with fentanyl as it creates the same high as the illicit drug and has identical effects. However, it is deemed to be 50 times more potent than traditional heroin.
The cause of death recorded in an open verdict by Coroner Dr. Emma Carlyon was listed as fentanyl intoxication.
That being said, investigative authorities are now trying to determine how the patch got attached to the body of the infant. Speaking of which, Carlyon said: "How the patch came to be attached to Amelia's tummy could not be determined.
"The patch that was attached to Amelia could not be found.
"There was no evidence that a patch had fallen off at night previously and it is not clear how the patch came to be attached to Amelia.
"I find there are some discrepancies in the evidence. Amelia died on June 5, 2016, at Royal Cornwall Hospital Treliske.
"Amelia was found lifeless at her home in St Austell. She was found in bed with her mother who was in bed with her.
"Amelia was transferred to the hospital where she was recognized dead.
"A patch was missing from her mother's body, it is not clear how the patch came to be attached to Amelia.
"It is not clear how it accidentally came attached, especially seeing as she was wearing a pyjama top covering the area.
"It is not clear when, where or how the patch came to be attached to Amelia."
27-year-old Ben Cooper, Amelia's father, who is an HGV driver from Newquay, Cornwall, revealed in a statement read by his mother after the inquiry: "It has been over two years now since we have lost our dear little girl Amelia.
"We have had to wait for an investigation into the owner of the medication into the reason why the fentanyl patch was attached to her tummy causing her to die on the morning of June 5, 2016, and we had to wait until December of 2017 before we were able to organize her funeral."
The statement further read: "She is so sadly missed by her daddy Ben, nanny and granddad Cooper, Auntie Laura and cousin Florence as well.
"She lit up our lives with her cheeky smile, and her funny little ways - she was adored by us all. During the inquest, we have heard an immense amount of information from experts including pathologists, to the first responders and paramedics who were on the scene that dreadful morning we lost her in 2016.
"The outcome today has given us a line we can now draw under and enable us to move forward, but we will never forget her.
"She will always be in our hearts, she deserved to live a long and happy life but was so drastically taken from us."
49-year-old Manisa Cooper, a teaching assistant who is also Amelia's grandmother, said: "We've all adored her, she has left a really big hole in all our lives. Even now after two years, it's really hard."
Sara declined a request for comment.