Girl, 2, chokes to death on cocktail sausage after paramedic put breathing tubes in wrong place

A TWO-year-old girl died choking to death on a cocktail sausage after medics put breathing tubes in the wrong place, an inquest heard.

Little Mia Atkins had been rushed to hospital with blocked airways after choking on the snack in July last year.

But paramedics placed a breathing tube in her oesophagus rather than her windpipe, which would have provided oxygen to her body.

The tragic youngster was later revealed to be brain dead – with her family forced to make the agonising decision to switch her life support off.

Family solicitor James Weston told the hearing in Maidstone, Kent, that Mia's chances of survival were reduced because the endotracheal tube was incorrectly put in the oesophagus, rather than the trachea.

This meant the toddler was starved of oxygen until she arrived at Darent Valley Hospital and was in cardiac arrest for around 30 minutes.


The inquest heard Mia had been at home in Greenhithe, Kent, after a family day out with her mum Beth Ranger, aunt Lauren and Lauren's children.

The youngsters were given the cocktail sausages to snack on while waiting for dinner but moments later, Lauren began screaming "she's choking".

Beth said: "I came in and she was turning blue. She was bleeding from her nose and mouth.”

The frantic mum only managed to get through to the emergency services on her third attempt – by which point Mia had passed out and was in cardiac arrest.

She performed CPR until paramedics arrived and the decision was made to use the breathing tube.


Babies explore the world around them by putting things in their mouths.

This means they're at high risk of choking.

When your baby is really young even curdled milk can pose a threat.

But as they grow up and start to move around, everyday items like sweets, grapes and nuts can prove common hazards.

The first thing to note is a baby who's choking won't be able to cry, cough or make any noise, as they struggle to breathe.

What should you do?

Step 1. Give your baby five back blows

Hold your baby face down, resting them along your thigh with their head lower than their bottom.

Hit them firmly on their back between the shoulder blades up to five times.

If back blows don't dislodge the object, move on to step two.

Step 2. Give up to five chest thrusts

Turn your baby over so they are facing upwards and place two fingers in the middle of their chest just below the nipples.

Push sharply downwards up to five times.

Step 3. Call 999 if the object does not dislodge

Continue with cycles of back blows and chest thrusts until the blockage clears or help arrives.

For more first aid advice for parents, click here.

A paramedic, from the South East Coast Ambulance Service, who was the first on the scene, said he was sure it was in the right place due to signs such as mist on the tube and chest movement.

He told the inquest it could have been knocked out while the little girl was being moved, which was supported by paediatric specialist Dr Ian Maconchie.

But consultant anaesthetist Dr Francoise Lossifidis claimed the pipe was too far down the oesophagus to have fallen out of the trachea and down the foodpipe.

She also said the Mia was extremely cyanosed – meaning her skin was turning blue – a sign she did not have enough oxygen in her body.

Medics also removed a 2cm piece of sausage from her throat, which was not originally taken out as it didn't appear to be blocking her airways at the time.

A post-mortem result gave Mia’s cause of death as upper airway obstruction.

Paying tribute to the youngster previously, mum Beth said: "She was always smiling. I could have a bad day but just one look at her face would make me feel better."

The inquest was adjourned after two days and will continue in October.

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