Staff Shortage in London Hospital Leads to Death of 5 Month Old Baby Boy

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Following major heart surgery, Dominic Bartley began to turn blue and stopped breathing after nurses failed in their attempts to find a doctor on the ward because there were no doctors available on a weekend as reported in an article by The Telegraph (1).

Hospitals are becoming too concerned with reaching targets and forgetting that patient care is the number one priority

Despite being taken to theatre two days after he was admitted to Barnet Hospital, the five month old baby went into cardiac arrest and died on the following Sunday morning (1). Dominic’s mother Merilyn Bartley said there was an “air of panic” as nurses hysterically searched for a doctor when his condition initially began to deteriorate, however because of alleged low staffing levels over the weekend they were unable to locate anyone that was able to deal with his condition (1).

Commenting on the incident, Asons Solicitors Executive Suzanne Yates said:

“I strongly believe that whether it be a weekend or weekday, there should always be an adequate number of staff available on a hospital ward, more so on a children’s ward where their conditions are held in a fine balance.

"Unfortunately people still suffer from illness at the weekend and precautions have to be put in place to ensure that their care remains a priority. If what the report says is true, this young boy has suffered terrible clinical negligence and was left to die at very young age.”

According to The Telegraph an inquest carried out in Dominic’s death stated that had he received medical treatment promptly, he would have survived (1).

Professor Anthony Costello, who was the only available qualified medical practitioner at the time, allegedly said that he had no access to the correct equipment that was needed to in order to discover that Dominic had such high blood pressure (1). Had he been able to identify it, he would have ordered him back to Royal Brompton where he could have received more expert attention, as stated by Professor Costello in The Telegraph (1).

In the inquest he was quoted as saying:
“You wouldn't get a report on a Saturday morning, it would have been the following week. Most hospitals at weekends don't get consultant reports. You need a good echocardiogram service. You won't get that on a weekend at Barnet.

"You don't want a child with any risk of complications in a district general hospital at a weekend."(1)

Continuing to express her concern over the lack of doctors in the hospital, Suzanne Yates said:
“This was a completely avoidable death that was caused by alleged substandard patient care. Hospitals are becoming too concerned with reaching targets and forgetting that patient care is the number one priority. This alleged form of medical negligence is unacceptable and must be addressed.”

The article within The Telegraph reported that the inquest into Dominic’s death has been postponed until later this month leaving The Barnet Hospital Trust feeling as if it would be “inappropriate” to make a statement until the final report has been released (1).

Receiving substandard care in a hospital because of a shortage of staff is a form of medical negligence that has the potential to be devastating to patients and their families.

Anyone that has suffered from any form of medical negligence is urged to contact a specialist solicitors such as Asons to determine whether or not there is potential to file for a medical negligence claim. To find out more information visit or phone 01204 521 133 to speak a member of their team.

  •     The Telegraph, Mother told 'there are no doctors' as she tries to save dying baby, 07/06/2013,

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About Asons Solicitors:
Asons Solicitors is a Bolton-based law practice that specialises in personal injury and industrial disease claims. Founded by brothers Imran Akram and Kamran Akram, Asons Solicitors has developed to become a young and dynamic law firm that delivers practical solutions to clients in times of difficulty. Their continued focus on their staff has seen them awarded with the Investors in People “Gold Award”; which is reflected in the professional and personable approach they take in working with clients. They strive to grow and to develop, and their supportiveness and attention to detail ensures that their clients use them time and again.

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John King
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