Kidney problems 'could have caused baby's high salt level'

A consultant who cared for a 15-month-old boy who was allegedly poisoned with salt by his mother today told a court in the UK that the child could have suffered high amounts of sodium in his body because of his chronic kidney problems.

A post mortem examination carried out on Joshua Taylor, who was allegedly killed by his mother Marianne Williams, said that the increased salt levels in his blood could have been caused by his failing kidneys, Winchester Crown Court was told.

The trial has heard that Joshua was taken seriously ill into Southampton General Hospital on February 24, 2004, after being cared for by his mother at home the previous night.

He died three days later from hypernatraemia – high salt levels in his blood which led to severe brain damage.

The child, who was born 12 weeks premature and had “very small” kidneys, had spent two-thirds of his life in hospital and received up to 11 different medications daily.

Michael Topolski QC read from a post mortem report by Southampton General Hospital’s consultant paediatric pathologist Dr Isabella Moore.

Referring to the high levels of salt found in Joshua’s body she wrote: “Probably the results of high sodium levels should be interpreted in the light of severe renal abnormalities.”

When asked what he thought of the summary of salt levels, consultant paediatric nephrologist Dr Pankaj Deshpande, who was jointly in charge of Joshua’s care, said: “Yes, I would agree.”

When asked by Mr Topolski if he was aware that the concentration of sodium chloride prescribed to Joshua would be considered illegal in the US, he replied: “I did not know that.”

Williams, 24, denies a charge of murder and an alternative of manslaughter and the trial was adjourned until tomorrow.

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