By Michael MacLeod
A TEN week-old baby nearly died after being given a dummy dipped in methadone to stop him crying.
Susan Taylor, 29, gave the baby boy a dummy dripping with the heroin substitute in a bid to keep him quiet after complaining he was “a grumpy baby.”
She rolled it around in her methadone measuring cup before putting it in his mouth.
The baby sucked on the dummy for around five minutes before passing out in his Moses basket, turning his face grey and his lips blue.
His carer Lynn Cowan, 28, had no idea why the tot was unconscious until Taylor told her the truth once the pair had taken him to hospital.
But she kept quiet rather than tell medics.
Taylor’s had a three-year jail sentence imposed on her last September for culpably and recklessly causing the baby to ingest methadone.
However a court order imposed because Cowan was also to face trial meant it could not be reported until today.
It was lifted after Cowan pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of failing to tell medics that the boy had been given the drug shortly before the trial began.
The couple will be reunited in Cornton Vale prison after Cowan was sentenced to 10 months.
In what she claimed was “a misguided sense of loyalty,” Cowan had failed to tell medics at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children what had happened.
Their conspiracy was uncovered two days later when samples revealed a potentially fatal dose of methadone in the infant’s body.
Doctors say it is too early to know whether the boy – who cannot be named for legal reasons – will suffer any lasting effects.
He is no longer in the care of either of the women, a court was told yesterday.
Social workers had visited the flat just a day before the incident on 22 November 2008 and nothing untoward was reported.
They had even ensured all controlled drugs were out of the reach of the tot, according to fiscal depute John Kirk.
He told Edinburgh Sheriff Court how the couple were watching TV in their flat in Edinburgh’s Leith area when Cowan noticed the boy had stopped breathing.
He said: “At 7pm he was placed in a Moses basket and at 8.30pm Cowan realised she couldn’t hear the baby breathing.
“On picking him up she noticed his lips were blue and his face and body were grey.
“She dialled 999 and was given instructions until paramedics arrived.
“They noted that Cowan was extremely distressed and upset whilst Susan Taylor seemed disinterested and was showing no emotion, which they found strange.”
Twice the little boy had to be resuscitated after passing out en-route to the Sick Kids Hospital.
He was placed in an incubator and was “fortunate” to make a recovery, according to Mr Kirk.
He said: “At some point on the journey to the hospital, Taylor told Cowan that she had dipped the baby’s dummy in her methadone.
“But it was only when samples were returned two days later that medical staff got the first indication that the child had ingested methadone.
“The analysis shows the quantity was not insubstantial and was of a concentration that could have proved fatal.
“Fortunately the baby survived.”
He added that Cowan had “an all too familiar depressing catalogue of previous convictions for someone with drug addiction problems.”
Taylor confessed to police ahead of the High Court case last year.
Prosecutor Morag Jack said: “She said he was a grumpy baby and had lots of temper tantrums.”
Taylor and Cowan have now ended their relationship, according to defence agent Peter Winning.
He said: “The child had been at the doctor the day before and got a check and some jags.
“He was thriving and well cared-for.
“Cowan’s position is that only once treatment had begun at the hospital was she informed by her former partner as to what she had done.
“Due to a misguided sense of loyalty to her partner she didn’t pass that information on to the medical staff.
“It is something she is always going to find difficult to come to terms with.”
Sending Cowan to prison for 10 months, Sheriff Alisair Noble said she failed in her “duty to tell doctors.”
He said: “Happily it appears the child has recovered.
“Nevertheless, you were not aware of what might happen to the child and, knowing the child had ingested methadone, it was plainly your duty to tell doctors of that immediately.”