Baby died as a result of doctor on duty walking off shift at an under-staffed labour ward in a row over pay.

He left a junior midwife in the “untenable situation” of caring for four women giving birth. Staff shortages resulted in five hours of missed opportunities to save baby Huw Stewart’s life, reports The Sun.

The infant was delivered stillborn at St George’s hospital in London in February last year.

Staff initially failed to realise mum Philippa Stewart had gone into labour at 27 weeks.

A damning internal investigation found delays and a failure to act on his weakening heartbeat were the “root cause” of his death.

It said the safety of patients and their babies was “compromised” due to understaffing.

The report reveals a locum doctor had walked out at the start of his shift in a dispute over his pay.

The investigation found the infant should have been delivered when problems were first spotted at 9.15am. But was born five hours later.

It took the hospital almost a year to apologise to the couple.

Mrs Stewart, 34, told the Evening Standard: “I’m forever changed by what has happened.

“I needed someone to say sorry, that we did this terrible thing.

“We can’t focus on moving on. I can’t even think about having another baby.”

Their lawyer Mark Bowman, of Fieldfisher, said: “No one should have to wait so long for answers, particularly in such a clear-cut case.

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  • that is a terrible thing to have to experience! that shouldn’t have to happen to anybody!


  • Don’t know how any one could just go off shift like this – thought they took an oath to care for their patients. Tragic thing to have happened.


  • How could this so called doctor do this and live with what happened? This woman went to hospital believing it was the best thing to do for her child and was let down big time. I can’t believe it took so long for the hospital to apologise either.


  • This makes me both so sad and angry. I don’t know how that doctor can live with himself, what an animal!


  • This is absolutely horrible and should NEVER have happened. And all this family wants is for the hospital to say sorry. I cannot imagine what they have gone through and the Hospital is totally responsible and to blame. That responsible Doctor should no longer have a licence.


  • Just awful! Sure, medical staff have the same rights as other workers to argue over pay, but not to the extent you leave people vulnerable. The place was short staffed to begin with, so looks like a government issue thanks to all their cuts to save money, but not lives


  • It is so very sad for this family to have suffered such a great loss when things could have been different. Why too did it take so long for the hospital to admit their mistake?

    • Wonderful comment and I agree 100%.


  • How awful !!
    And how problematic is the understaffing in hospitals ! Difficult to solve these problems by lack of Doctors and funding.


  • it is disgusting! I was on monitoring every two days and due to staff shortage i was going to be unmonitored for over a week, in that time i was admitted to hospital at 33 weeks gestation with a bub that had to be resuscitated after birth


  • In Australia the parents would probably still be waiting for the Coroner’s report. I know of more than one case. THey were told: Complain more than once and yours goes to the bottom of the pile. I wonder if there was actually a surgeon or aenethetist there. No anenethetist available, no surgery. I know of one such case in a country hospital. Nurses knew the baby was going to be stillborn but couldn’t arrange surgery for that reason. She may survived had surgery been available.


  • So tragic, as the mother of a baby born at 27 weeks they have a very good survival rate when cared for correctly. The poor mother.


  • I have no idea how you’d recover from something this appalling.


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