A baby died after a pain relief patch became attached to her skin while she slept next to her mum, an inquest heard.
Amelia Cooper was just 15-months-old when she was found lifeless in her parent’s bed on 5 June 2016.
A fentanyl opioid patch used by her mother, Sara Talbot, to treat several chronic conditions was thought to have become stuck to the baby’s skin for a “period of time” allowing the pain relief drug to be absorbed into her body.
The inquest at Bodmin Magistrates’ Court recorded the cause of death as fentanyl toxicity and ended with an open conclusion.
Amelia, of Newquay, Cornwall, was described as a “normal” and “healthy” child prior to her death.
A toxicology report found the drug in Amelia’s blood, bile and hair samples, but not in her stomach content.
Pathologist Dr Debbie Cook told the hearing: “There were no external injuries to contribute to the death, there was no natural disease and the relevant findings are the toxicological findings.
“The drug can cause a reduction in breathing, a reduction in blood pressure and in some cases, seizures.
“When levels become high there will be a coma and in high levels such as this case, then it can be fatal.”
Dr Cook told the court that blood samples revealed a level of fentanyl in Amelia’s body which would have been fatal to an adult.
She said: “To me it suggests that the patch was attached firmly enough to provide transdermal [skin absorption] of the drug.”
Police said there was “every indication” Amelia died after the patch became attached to her, but there was “insufficient evidence” to ascertain how it happened.
Detective Constable Simon Miller, from Devon and Cornwall Police, said a series of scenarios had been investigated as to how the patch became attached to Amelia’s body.
They included the patch becoming detached from her mother’s body, Amelia peeling it off Talbot and applying it herself, or a third person affixing the patch.
Det Con Miller said: “There is insufficient evidence to suggest that a third party was involved in this death, but investigations were made thoroughly.”
Fentanyl is a highly synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine, the NCA said. It is prescribed for severe pain.