A five-month-old baby who died in hospital was left without oxygen for several minutes, with his parents saying they had to clarify with the doctor if their son had died, an inquest has heard.

Jackson Pickup was born on July 19, 2016, and immediately admitted to Alder Hey Hospital for a heart operation, after being born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, the inquest at Accrington Town Hall was told.

The serious condition meant just one chamber of Jackson’s heart was pumping blood around the body and lungs, unlike a healthy heart in which one chamber pumps blood to the body and another to the lungs.

Jackson would have needed three operations, one at birth, one aged around six months and one at around three years old to treat the condition.

The first operation was undertaken however Jackson needed two rounds of ECMO – an artificial lung - to recover before his discharge on October 29 to the family’s home in Blackburn.

Lancashire Telegraph: The main entrance of Alder Hey hospital on East Prescot Road (Photo credit: Rodhullandemu)The main entrance of Alder Hey hospital on East Prescot Road (Photo credit: Rodhullandemu)

Before a second consultation with Alder Hey cardiologist Dr Ram Ramaraj to see whether he was ready for his second surgery, Jackson had been in hospital with bronchitis but recovered.

Dr Ramaraj completed tests, however, the doctor said the tests he performed showed Jackson to be recovering well and there was no chest infection left, so he was waitlisted for his second surgery.

On the night of December 14 into the early hours of December 15, Jackson had been struggling with his health, so his mum Caroline Pickup took him to Royal Blackburn Hospital.

He was up and down over the next two days but on December 17 he seemed to be more himself, with Caroline even putting on the television for him which he seemed to acknowledge.

Suddenly, Caroline noticed the humidified area going into his CPAP machine, a machine used to provide heated and humidified gas to assist with breathing in infants, was dry and asked nurse Peter Doyle who was sitting with her to check it.

Lancashire Telegraph: Accrington Town HallAccrington Town Hall

He said he refilled it with sterilised water when suddenly the alarm on the machine started going off, so he called Sister Maxine Buckley for help as he was not trained with the machines.

In a statement read by Coroner Richard Taylor, Caroline said: “Jackson had a look of shock on his face.

“I don’t know if it was the loud noise or the loss of oxygen supply.”

The nurses were trying to diagnose the problem on the machine Jackson was without oxygen for around three minutes.

Sister Maxine Buckley told the inquest: “I came into the room and went to look at the machine to see if it was easily rectified and when I realised it wasn’t, I put him on oxygen.”

Sister Maxine Buckley was asked: “Wouldn’t it have been better to put Jackson straight on oxygen?”

She replied: “In hindsight, yes.”

A third nurse entered and helped to diagnose the issue with the machine but said the water chamber was empty when she did this.

At that point, two doctors, including Dr Dennis Corbett came in and it was determined Jackson needed to be resuscitated.

Caroline had called her husband Steven and she was taken from the room for around 40 minutes while they stabilised Jackson.

Dr Corbett came out and went to make a phone call, so Caroline and Steven left and were able to see Jackson, when they heard a nurse say another oxygen tank was needed as the one being used had run out.

Jackson was quickly taken to theatre to allow him to be intubated, with his parents believing this was to prepare him for transfer to Alder Hey hospital, where they wanted him to be cared for.

A nurse called the parents to say it “wasn’t looking good” and took them to the theatre room where they saw doctors and nurses giving Jackson compressions.

Jackson’s heart rate and blood pressure were too weak, and Dr Corbett said it was decided by the whole team he would likely not live through any further treatment.

Caroline’s statement added: “I told Jackson I was sorry I couldn’t help him.

“Dr Corbett then told us they would have to do an investigation.

“I had to stop him to ask if he had gone. They hadn’t told us they had stopped [compressions] or that he had died.”

Dr Corbett said however this was not what he had meant by the conversation, clarifying: “I wanted to give the parents time.

“I didn’t feel he had gone, they told us to discontinue [resuscitation].

“We wanted to give them a moment with him.”

Treatment was discontinued and Jackson died on December 17, 2016.

East Lancashire Hospitals Trust has said it will provide a statement once the inquest has concluded.

The inquest continues.