Desperate bid to save heroin overdose baby

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NEIGHBOURS today described the moment paramedics battled to save the life of a one-year-old girl suspected of overdosing on heroin.

The unconscious child was revived after a frantic 999 call from a flat in Wester Hailes. Her parents, both in their 20s, were later arrested during a row with police.

A team of officers and a police sniffer dog went into the flat on Greenacre shortly after the emergency to carry out a search.

Neighbours said they suspected the baby's father was involved in drug dealing, with dozens of people visiting the flat every day and leaving after only a few minutes.

One resident, a man in his late 20s, saw the desperate fight to save the life of the stricken baby on Thursday.

He said: "I was looking out my window about midday and I saw an ambulance outside their house. Then I saw a paramedic running out with the baby girl in his arms. Her body seemed all floppy. They took her inside and shut the ambulance door.

"A few seconds later the mum and a young girl, who must have been about 16, came out too. The mum knocked on the ambulance door and a paramedic opened it.

"I could see them trying to resuscitate the girl. A paramedic was bent over her and she had an oxygen mask on." The paramedics administered Nar-can, which reverses the effects of heroin, and the baby came round.

The neighbour added: "The paramedics wouldn't let the mum inside and closed the door again. The mum was shouting at the younger girl and was clearly upset and frustrated.

"Then I saw the dad come out of the flat. He seemed quite calm and walked over smoking a cigarette. He joined the two women and they all smoked outside the ambulance. They were pale and drawn but they always look like that.

"About 20 minutes later, a police van turned up and five officers got out and went into the flat. A sniffer dog and his handler also went inside. They were inside for about half-an-hour."

The baby was rushed to the city's Royal Hospital for Sick Children. Police are awaiting results of toxicology tests to discover if she had swallowed the drug.

Her parents were arrested at the hospital following an argument with police.

Both were charged with a breach of the peace while the father was also charged with resisting arrest.

The couple were held in the cells overnight and appeared on Friday at Edinburgh District Court.

A spokesman for the city council confirmed the baby and her three-year-old sister had been taken into care following the incident.

The child's father reportedly insisted that his daughter had suffered an asthma attack and not a heroin overdose.

The couple were believed to be in the flat last night, but would not answer the door.

Neighbours said they had lived there for around five months, and the father had acquired a reputation as an alleged drug dealer.

One neighbour said: "There's always people coming and going from their flat at all times of the night.

"We see lots of dodgy characters and people around there and we think it is to do with drugs."

Another resident said: "The rumour is he is involved in drug dealing. The police are never away from his front door."

A Lothian and Borders police spokeswoman said the baby was in a stable condition.

She added: "We are investigating the circumstances that led to an infant needing hospital treatment."

The spokeswoman declined to comment further "while inquiries were ongoing".

Meanwhile, questions were raised today on whether social services could have prevented the incident.

Tom Ponton, the Lib Dem social work spokesman, said: "There has to be an enquiry, we have been here time and time again where children have slipped through the net.

"The public need to have confidence in the city's child protection policy and there have been far too many tragic cases in recent times.

"We need a clear strategy from the council, not more stock responses of 'lessons must be learned'."

Tory group leader Iain Whyte backed calls for an investigation and said: "If there is a drug problem and nobody has reported it then the council's position is very difficult. You can't have social workers snooping about every home in Edinburgh on the off chance a family might have a drug issues."

A spokeswoman from the council's children and families department said: "There was no previous social work involvement with these children. They were not on the child protection register or subject to any kind of supervision or care order.

"As a result of this incident, child protection orders have been taken out on the children to prevent any further harm."


THIS incident is the latest in a series of serious events involving drugs and children in Scotland this year.

Two-year-old Derek Doran died last December after drinking methadone - a heroin substitute.

He was found dead in his bed at home in Elphinstone, East Lothian.

His parents, Lisa Dodds, 25, and Derek Doran Snr, 21, appeared in court in May accused of murdering their son by giving him methadone. They were later freed on bail to await trial.

In June, a seven-year-old boy in Inverness collapsed after drinking methadone, and an 11-year-old girl from Glasgow collapsed at school after smoking heroin.