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Only one doctor running multiple maternity wards when baby died at Prince Charles Hospital

Jenson's parents, Tiffany Gillard and James Francis. Credit: Irwin Mitchell

The inquest into the death of a baby at Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil has heard how there was only one doctor running multiple maternity wards at the time.

Dr Alia Bashir was the registrar working across the labour, antenatal, postnatal and gynaecology ward overnight between the 20th and 21st of June 2018.

Among the patients being looked after that night was Tiffany Gillard. Her baby, Jenson, was delivered by caesarean section on the morning of the 21st but was pronounced dead less than an hour later.

Dr Bashir was asked whether the fact she was the only doctor present was sustainable. She said that the nature of patients’ conditions could be “unpredictable” but that there was no difficulty contacting or getting consultant support if needed.

That night, consultant support was provided by Dr Sreevidya Ambika who was on call from home.

Dr Ambika was also asked whether the fact there was just one doctor present was normal, to which she said it was standard practice for hospitals like Prince Charles, not just in Wales but in England too. She said that the other doctor role of ‘senior house officer’ is instead covered by a senior clinical midwife.

Throughout the night, Dr Bashir and Dr Ambika exchanged phone calls about all the patients in the maternity department as well as Tiffany Gillard and baby Jenson’s conditions. Despite anomalies in some of the readings of Jenson while he was in the womb, Dr Ambika did not attend the hospital and was not asked to by Dr Bashir.

In the early hours of the 21 June, the decision to deliver Jenson by c-section was made.

Despite attempts at CPR, Jenson was pronounced dead 40 minutes after being delivered.

The inquest continues.