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Posted on 10th March 2017

Father of dead baby asked if he wanted “to put him in the fridge”

A catalogue of failings by Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust has been highlighted by the parents of a dead baby.

John and Emma Quinn are still waiting for answers following the death of their full-term baby, Ryan.

Ryan was starved of oxygen and died just eight hours after being born at St Mary’s Hospital, where both Prince George and Princess Charlotte were born.

When baby Ryan passed away Mr Quinn asked for a Moses basket to take Ryan to the chapel of rest.

Whilst waiting for the basket, a nurse came in to pin a job reference number to the baby and referred to him as the code.

Mr Quinn said: “We were in shock and the nurse came in and she said, ‘I need to give him a reference number,’ and she was trying to pin this piece of paper onto him. I followed the nurse out and said, ‘Can you call him Ryan? He is not a reference number.’

A porter arrived to take Ryan to the chapel of rest, but instead of a Moses basket he had an NHS box which looked like a sports bag.

Mr Quinn asked the porter to find him a Moses basket so he could take Ryan to the chapel of rest himself.

On being led to the chapel of rest Mr Quinn said: “There are two entrances. The rear entrance, where the fridges are, or the nice stained glass window where the chapel is,” Quinn said. “They brought me through the rear entrance of the morgue.”

When he arrived Mr Quinn was met by a different porter who asked: “Where do you want to put him? Do you want to put him in the fridge or do you want to put him in the chapel?”

Katherine Murphy, the chief executive of the Patients Association, who has been helping Quinn and his wife to get answers to why their son died, said the hospital’s treatment of the family had been one of the most “callous” she had experienced.

“I feel angry at the lack of dignity. The father had to constantly ask for the basics, reminding staff their beautiful baby had a name and should not be referred to as a ‘job reference number’. There was an appalling lack of compassion, insensitivity and lack of dignity.”

The incompetency continued when 10 days after Ryan’s death, a midwife arrived at the Quinn’s home to weigh the new baby. They had to explain to her that their baby had died.

Dr Julian Redhead, the medical director at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “We offer again our sincere condolences to Mr and Mrs Quinn.

“We fully accept there were significant failings in our dealings with the Quinn family and the way we managed the original investigation into Ryan’s death, for which we are very sorry.

“We are absolutely committed to understanding the circumstances of Ryan’s death and the lessons to be learnt. In January, we asked the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists to conduct an independent investigation into the clinical care received by the Quinn family. This is now under way. This is alongside a full internal review of how the trust responded to Mr and Mrs Quinn following the loss of their son.” 

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