St Mary's Hospital slammed as 'callous' after porter asked father if he wanted dead baby 'in the fridge'

Chloe Chaplain
St Mary's: The hospital launched an internal investigation: Google StreetView

The hospital where Prince George and Princess Charlotte were born has been slammed for its "callous" treatment of a couple who were asked if the wanted to put their deceased baby in a fridge.

A nurse at St Mary’s Hospital kept referring to John and Emma Quinn’s baby son Ryan by a reference number rather than his name and, when a porter turned up to take him to the chapel of rest, he wanted to transport the baby in a box that looked like a “sports bag”.

The west London hospital has been criticised by the Patients Association for is treatment of the family and the hospital – run by Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust – admitted staff were insensitive and is reviewing its policies.

According to The Sunday Times Ryan Quinn was born in May 2016 and, despite being full term and a healthy size, had been starved of oxygen and died eight hours later.

The devastated parents dressed their baby and prepared to take him to the chapel of rest in the hostel.

Mr Quinn, a 35-year-old electrician, 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.

Royal: Prince George was born in the private wing of the hospital (Jeremy Selwyn)

“I followed the nurse out and said, 'Can you call him Ryan? He is not a reference number.'

"When the porter did turn up, he had a blue NHS box. It looked like a sports bag. He just walked into the room.”

Mr Quinn insisted on a moses basket which was eventually brought but, when he was led to the mortuary, he was taken through the back entrance and 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?"

Mr Quinn said: " For someone to say something like that when you are carrying a Moses basket is just as though that person has no compassion. They don't care."

Katherine Murphy, the chief executive of the Patients Association said the parents’ distressing take is one of the most "callous" she had heard.

"I feel angry at the lack of dignity,” she said.

“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 Quinn’s traumatic experience was added to when a midwife turned up at their family home 10 days after Ryan’s death to weigh him.

The grieving parents had to explain to her that he had died.

St Mary’s NHS hospital – which also has a private Lido wing where the Royal children were born – revealed in an investigation that the couple were subjected to an “insensitive reception”.

And a report into Ryan’s death – which was later retracted - suggested there had been medical inaccuracies in the way the staff had handled his delivery.

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."

The parents told the paper they are are still waiting for “honest answers as to why Ryan died".