A FOUR–month old baby from Southampton who suffered from a rare medical condition died after catching a common virus, an inquest heard.

River Smith-Chapman was rushed to hospital after his mother noticed he had stopped breathing at her home in Townhill Park.

Shaunna Smith screamed for help from neighbours in Benhams Road after she saw that his eyes were open and not moving, Southampton Coroner’s Court heard.

Despite attempts to resuscitate the child he died at Southampton General Hospital.

In the months leading up to his death, River, who suffered from a medical condition known as facial femoral syndrome, was not putting on weight and doctors struggled to understand why.

Other than a mild and common respiratory virus, several tests in October 2012 failed to diagnose the cause and the court heard that the bug could not have been treated anyway.

Aside from a few days in November when River went to hospital with diarrhoea and vomiting, his health remained stable and although he was still not putting on weight subsequent doctors’ appointments showed his health was improving.

But it is believed the respiratory bug became more virulent in the hours prior to his death on December 5 when his condition took a “sad and sudden” decline.

A post-mortem found River had also contracted an acute and rapid kidney infection in the hours leading up to his death.

Samantha Holden, a consultant paediatric pathologist at Southampton General Hospital, said: “Both [infections] were present, there’s no suggestion that they weren’t there but you can’t determine whether one or the other caused his death so you put them down effectively as both.”

Determining a verdict of death by natural causes, deputy coroner Gordon Denson said: “I’m entirely satisfied that the level of care didn’t fall below an acceptable standard, and it to me seems quite the opposite.”