Kent

Harry Richford inquest hears doctor was 'out of depth'

Sarah and Tom Richford with their baby, Harry Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Harry, seen with his parents Sarah and Tom Richford, died seven days after he was born

A doctor called to help with the emergency delivery of a baby has agreed he was "utterly out of his depth", at an inquest into the boy's death.

Harry Richford was born at the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital in Margate in 2017 but died a week later.

The inquest has already heard there was panic in the operating theatre during his birth.

On Thursday, senior paediatrician Ratnaranjith Ratnanathan apologised to the family for the care they received.

Giving evidence from Sri Lanka over Skype, Dr Ratnanathan said he was called in to see Harry being delivered, describing him as not crying, pale and with no movement.

However, Harry did have a heartbeat and the team began almost half an hour of attempts to resuscitate and incubate him, the hearing in Maidstone was told.

'Looked dead'

Dr Ratnanathan accepted his note-taking had not been the best and the situation in the theatre had not been peaceful.

The family's barrister asked Dr Ratnanathan if he was "utterly out of your depth" at the end of the resuscitation attempt and the doctor agreed that he was.

An independent report compiled for the coroner by Dr Giles Kendall said Harry suffered irreversible brain damage during delays to resuscitate him and without the delay, Harry would almost certainly have survived, possibly with normal neurological outcomes.

On Wednesday, junior doctor Dr Kayzia Ballantyne, who was assisting in theatre, broke down in tears as she described the birth.

Asked by coroner Christopher Sutton-Mattocks how the baby was when he was delivered, Dr Ballantyne broke down and said: "He looked dead."

East Kent Hospitals NHS Trust apologised for the care given to the family, at the start of the two-week hearing.

The inquest continues.

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