A BABY girl suffering from a heart defect died in hospital just hours after her parents were told she was “stable and settled”, an inquest heard.

Iris Ann Day died aged just six months after her parents rushed her to Colchester General Hospital with breathing difficulties.

Iris was born with Down syndrome and an atrio-ventricular septal defect, which was discovered when her mother Hannah was 36 weeks pregnant.

Her parents were told she would need surgery to repair the condition when she was around three months old, arranged under the care of Evelina London Children’s Hospital.

But delays, one resulting from a lack of beds at the intensive care unit, meant the operation came too late and Iris died on December 2 2016.

An inquest into the baby’s death was opened at Chelmsford Coroner’s Court.

Lawyers representing Iris Day’s parents Hannah and Ben said on-duty staff at the hospital “failed to appreciate” her deteriorating condition.

She was taken to Colchester General Hospital’s A&E department at about 12.30am and her parents stayed with her all night.

At about 10am, paediatric consultant Dr Bhupinder Sihra began his rounds after taking over from the night team.

He said: “When I came on the ward was very busy, as it is at this time of year.

“Iris came in quite unwell just after midnight the previous night.

“She had stabilised, they had given her respiratory support, quite a lot of oxygen.

“We were to inform the Evelina cardiology team.

“Shortly after 10am I started my ward round.

“She seemed at that stage relatively stable. I remember it was a very chaotic morning, the ward round went on and on until about 1pm.

“At around 2pm I had just got to my desk when I had a call from one of the junior doctors to say Iris has started looking worse, her gas got worse.”

Iris had undergone a blood gas test, which measures the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood, that morning at 6.21am.

Dr Sihra said: “I received another call to say her oxygen levels were dropping and she was deteriorating significantly.

“She went into cardiac arrest, her heart stopped beating and we went into resuscitation.”

Her notes showed her a steady increase in her heartrate from 145bpm at 8am to 177bpm at 11am and an increase in her respiratory rate.

In the hours before Iris’s death, Dr Yemi Adenekan admitted he tried and failed three times to fit a cannula, which is placed inside a vein to allow administration of fluids.

He added: “I don’t think we appreciated how unwell she was.”

A nurse who tried to fetch medicine to help Iris admitted she twice found it to be out of date.

The inquest heard Nurse Cracknell, who was a deputy sister at the time, admitted she noted an increase in Iris’s heartrate and respiratory rates but failed to notify a doctor.

She said: “I was reassured by the doctors, they weren’t too concerned at that time.”They felt her condition had improved despite the observations.”

The inquest is due to continue tomorrow.