Hospital staff blamed for ‘wholly avoidable’ death of newborn baby


A NEWBORN baby died of brain damage after failings by medics which amounted to neglect, a coroner ruled yesterday.

An inquest was told of a one-hour delay in Harry Richford’s caesarean section delivery.

Sarah and Tom with dying Harry who suffered brain damage after he was failed by medics
PA:Press Association
Harry died at Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital in Margate, Kent

He died a week after the birth at Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital in Margate, Kent, in 2017.

Coroner Christopher Sutton-Mattocks declared: “Harry’s death was wholly avoidable. Mr and Mrs Richford were failed by the hospital.”

“More importantly, Harry was failed.”

A BBC investigation has revealed at least seven baby deaths since 2016 at the East Kent NHS Trust’s hospitals may have been preventable.

Harry was in a back-to-back position, meaning midwives had to deliver him by C-section.


His heart-rate was dropping and experts said at that point he should have been delivered within 30 minutes — but it took 90 minutes.

After his birth, involving an “inexperienced” locum, it took 28 minutes to resuscitate him.

The packed courtroom heard that if Harry had been resuscitated within ten to 15 minutes, he would not have suffered the irreversible brain damage that killed him.

Lawyers for parents Sarah and Tom, both 31-year-old teachers, had made a case for unlawful killing or neglect.

The coroner ruled out unlawful killing at the Maidstone hearing.

But, recording a narrative conclusion, he said there were probably “such failures as to be categorised as neglect”.

Tom said later: “Accidents happen every day, but failing to learn from them appears to have become a part of the culture of this NHS trust.”

The trust has apologised.

PA:Press Association

Sarah and Tom Richford outside Maidstone Coroner’s Court after the conclusion of the inquest[/caption]

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