Paramedics were twice ordered to take an unconscious baby to a hospital 22 miles away despite the fact she lived just one mile from Stafford Hospital, an inquest heard yesterday.
Seven-month-old Holly Water was pronounced dead on arrival at University Hospital of North Staffordshire in Stoke last June.
The child was not breathing when she was found at her mother’s Quantico Close home in Stafford at around 10.30pm.
West Midlands Ambulance was twice told to take her to Stoke because of Stafford’s A&E department overnight closure due to staffing shortages, South Staffordshire Coroner’s Court at Burton was told.
The inquest heard the paramedics telephoned medical staff at Stafford at 11.05pm and 11.10pm to see if the child could be admitted there. She had died by the time the ambulance arrived at Stoke at 11.37pm.
Jackie Keogh, emergency care manager at Mid Staffordshire Hospitals, said: “They were already dealing with a child who needed to be resuscitated and a lot of other ill children.
“They could not cope with another critical child at the time.”
Ms Keogh said the ambulance staff by phoning Stafford Hospital had not “adhered to policy”.
South Staffordshire Coroner Andrew Haigh recorded a narrative verdict and said: “In the circumstances at the time, Stafford was not in a position to take her.
“The cause of death is likely to have been a natural death.”