AN inquest into the death of a Swanmore infant has been put on hold as the cause of death is unclear.

Zach Keay, of Donigers Close, Swanmore, died on December 8, 2021 at Southampton General Hospital aged two.

He had been diagnosed with Down Syndrome shortly after birth, as well as Hirchsprung’s disease, which affects the functioning of the intestine.

The inquest, taking place over two days on June 7 and June 8 at Winchester Coroners’ Court, heard that Zach was admitted to Southampton General Hospital on December 7, 2021 after showing signs of sickness for several days, including puffiness around his eyes, lethargy and occasional vomiting.

Hampshire Chronicle: Zach Keay with his familyZach Keay with his family He passed away in hospital early on December 8 following an Echocardiogram heart scan.

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The initial cause of death was given as acute bronchial pneumonia. However, the cause of death was called into question during the inquest. The area coroner Rosamund Rhodes-Kemp adjourned the hearing to hear further evidence about the cause of death.

The hearing heard that Zach attended Royal Hampshire County Hospital on December 5, where it was thought he was suffering from allergies, with Zach being given antihistamines. His GP, Dr Shazatoi Subari, was contacted a few days later after he had shown no signs of improvement.

Dr Subari, who had seen Zach a few weeks before, said that he seemed lethargic, but showed no signs of respiratory distress. Due to concerns over his condition, she recommended that he should go to hospital.

When Zach arrived at Southampton General Hospital, he was given antibiotics and transferred to the High Dependency Unit. Despite improvements to his blood gases and heart rate, he would later die.

Dr Michael Rowe, the on-call paediatrician on the night of Zach’s death, said: “There are complexities in this case we will never have answers to.”

Zach’s father, Vince Keay, said in a statement: “His absence is felt every day. He was the centre of our lives and was so loving to everyone in the family and being with him was joyous. Our dreams for the future have been shattered by this loss.”

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Mr Keay said that the loss of Zach had deeply impacted the family, saying that both parents now “feel guilty” and that all of the family had required counselling following the “traumatic” loss. The dad also called for an “improvement in communications and transparency”.

Doctor Andrew Baldock, who led the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust review of the incident, said that an action plan has been drafted following Zach’s death to prevent future similar incidents.

Area coroner Rosamund Rhodes-Kemp gave her condolences to the family, saying: “I would like to say thank you to the family for keeping with this. It is devastating to lose a child.”

Mrs Rhodes-Kemp adjoined the inquest, with the conclusion to be heard at a later date.