A heartbroken mum who was forced to leave her dying baby to let paramedics in to her New Lodge apartment complex has said the newborn could have been saved had emergency services been able to access their home sooner.
Naomi Goodall’s four week old daughter Kacy Leigh O’Halloran died on Thursday, May 10 after suffering breathing problems at her Victoria Parade home. An ambulance crew – which arrived within four minutes of her parents’ emergency call – was prevented from getting to the dying infant as the entry system on the apartment complex was broken.
Nineteen year old Naomi, who said she had contacted the Housing Executive only the day before her daughter’s death to make them aware of problems with the flats, including the gate, believes her little girl could have been saved if paramedics had been able to get to her sooner.
Naomi and Kacy Leigh’s 20 year old father Tony O’Halloran were with the tot when they noticed her turning pale and struggling to breath. They immediatley phoned for an ambulance while they frantically tried to resusciate her.
The ambulance crew arrived almost immediately and Tony went out through the gate of the apartment complex to direct them to the flat. But, as they tried to get back in the broken buzzer system on the gate meant they were stranded outside.
Inside, a desparate Naomi was attempting to keep her child breathing and was only alerted to the situation outside when Tony was able to hit the window of the flat with a stone.
Naomi was then forced to leave her dying child alone to let Tony and the paramedics into the building. They rushed Kacy Leigh, the couples’ first child, to hospital where she tragically passed away.
“When the ambulance came Tony went down to show them where to go but they couldn’t get back in so I had to stop resuscitating her and let the ambulance men in,” said Naomi. “The ambulance men took her to the Royal but she died. Kacy Leigh could have been saved if the ambulance men had been able to get in sooner.”
No cause of death has yet been established into the child’s death as investigations are still ongoing.
“I had fed Kacy Leigh at 6.30 in the morning and we were just sitting with her,” explained Naomi. “At about 9 o’clock Tony noticed her colour changing, she went white and there was blue around her eyes. We phoned an ambulance while I tried to resuscitate her.”
The devastated mum said she wanted the problems at the complex dealt with immediately althought it was “too late” for her little girl.
“I went to the Housing Executive because of the problems with the gate and with the state of the place, it’s no place to bring up a child. But it’s too late now for Kacy Leigh. I just want the Housing Executive to fix the problem before anyone else needs an ambulance urgently.”
A spokeswoman for the Housing Executive said that after an emergency inspection yesterday (Wednesday) the gate has now been fixed.
“Staff in the North Belfast Office were saddened by this terrible tragedy and their thoughts are very much with the parents and wider family circle at this time,” she said.
“We are aware that there has been ongoing vandalism and anti-social behaviour at this location.” She said the door entry system was repaired on April 23 and the communal door was repaired on May 8 after reports that they were damaged.
“Since that time we have not received any other complaints about the door entry system. With regards to vandalism, this is not an issue that we can deal with alone and we have and will continue to work with the community, their representatives and the PSNI to try to address the matter.”