Probe launched at children’s hospital after three-month-old baby dies

Urgent probe is launched at top London children’s hospital as three-month-old baby dies before routine hernia operation

  • Aksharan Sivaruban died on December 12, allegedly by suffocation
  • He had been transferred to Evelina London Children’s Hospital for the day
  • Staff tried for 45 minutes to resuscitate him but were unsuccessful
  • A breathing tube inserted before surgery is believed to have become ‘displaced’ 

An investigation into one of the UK’s top children’s hospitals has begun after a three-month-old baby died.

Aksharan Sivaruban was due to have routine surgery to treat a hernia at Evelina London Children’s Hospital but allegedly suffocated while in the hospital.

A breathing tube had become ‘displaced’ after being placed in the infant’s throat before he died from a cardiac arrest on December 12.

A team of 16 staff tried for 45 minutes to resuscitate the boy but were unsuccessful.

Coroner Andrew Harris yesterday called bosses at the NHS hospital to court ahead of a scheduled inquest, but didn’t take any further action.

An investigation is under way at Evelina London Children’s Hospital in Lambeth, where three-month-old Aksharan Sivaruban died on December 12 last year 

Aksharan was born with two holes in his heart – a congenital heart defect – and had been moved to Evelina for the non-emergency hernia operation.

The anaesthetist who was looking after the three-year-old is now off work and has been removed from their role, the Evening Standard reported.

There are believed to have been two other attempts to insert Aksharan’s breathing tube which went wrong.

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Kanesh and Thevarathi Sivaruba, the only-child’s parents, had raised concerns about their chronically ill son being given general anaesthetic but medics proceeded anyway.

‘We saw the anaesthetic mask being placed on him,’ Mr Sivaruban, from Sutton, south west London, told the Standard.


In 2008, 20-month-old India Trevelyan died at Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton in similar circumstances.

She had been admitted to the hospital with croup, a viral breathing infection.     

Her condition deteriorated and an emergency operation was carried out to help her breathe, but the tube used to bypass her blocked airway became dislodged, the inquest heard.

While still in the operating theatre, Indya had a heart attack and later died.

Her death was described as ‘preventable’ by the Brighton and Sussex Universities Hospitals Trust. 

‘And then about 30 minutes after we left the theatre, we were asked to return to the theatre and after further 15 minutes, we were told he had died. Our world collapsed at that moment.’

At the court hearing on Monday, the hospital’s lawyer Corrine Slingo said: ‘Everybody involved is absolutely devastated by these events.’

The medical director of the hospital, which is run by Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust, wrote to Mr and Mrs Sivaruba two days after their son died.

In her letter, Dr Sara Hanna said the hospital would investigate what had happened and offered her condolences to the family.

The lawyer for the family, Will Jones, said: ‘We are relieved that the trust said in court that it is fully committed to finding out what happened.’ 

No equipment or ‘environmental’ failures were found at the hospital, according to the coroner yesterday, satisfying Mr Harris no immediate action was needed. 

He could have issued a prevention of future deaths report, demanding that extra measures be put in place to stop the same thing happening again. 

An internal investigation is now being done at the hospital and an inquest is expected in August. 

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS trust said in a statement: ‘Our thoughts are with the family of Aksharan Sivaruban after their tragic loss.

‘This was an unexpected death, which has shocked us all deeply.

‘We referred it to the coroner immediately, in addition to starting our own internal investigation, so that any findings can be acted on as soon as possible.’ 

The Duchess of Cambridge had officially become a patron of the London hospital just the day before the tragedy.

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