Baby had no chance, says doctor

The doctor accused of letting a premature baby die in her mother's arms said it would have been "futile, heroic and foolish" to try to keep the child alive.

Dr Faisal al-Zidgali, a paediatrician at Ayreshire Central Hospital said Rebecca Cassidy had been "extremely premature" and stood no chance of surviving.

Rebecca was born at the hospital in September last year following a pregnancy of up to 25 weeks, but Dr Zidgali deemed her to be "non-viable" with no prospect of survival.

Her mother, Kirsty, told the court yesterday that she pleaded in vain for him to do something to save the baby because she thought she looked healthy and normal. In her evidence she said the decision whether a prematurely born baby had a right to life should be made by the parents, not doctors.

But Dr Zidgali told the fatal accident inquiry at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court that Rebecca had been an extremely premature baby - 12 inches long, with a head smaller than a tennis ball, bruising across her head and abdomen and fused eyes.

Her heart rate was between 10 and 12 - compared with a normal rate for newborn babies of 120-160 and she felt cold because of poor circulation. She was gasping rather than breathing and the movements she was making were down to involuntary muscle and nerve spasms, the doctor added.

"Rebecca did not have any chance of surviving because of her condition and I did not have any doubt in my mind," he told the inquiry. "We are not just dealing with a premature baby. We are dealing with a very extremely premature baby.

"I think it is futile, heroic and foolish to try to do something for a baby that in my clinical judgement is not viable. You should not do anything to harm the baby."

Dr Zidgali said he had resus-citated premature babies before, even those born in the 23-25 week period (the legal limit for abortion is 24 weeks), but they had all had high heart rates and looked pink and relatively healthy. The longest any survived was for two or three days. In his most recent case, the baby had died after just 10 hours.

Dr Zidgali also denied a number of times that there had been a complete communications breakdown between himself and the parents. After Rebecca's birth he had said to Mrs Cassidy: "I'm very sorry, she's in a very poor condition and there's nothing I can do."

"There was no criticism of my management. She thanked me and wished me the best of luck, and it's not common for us as juniors to be wished the best of luck. I felt really that I did something. That a mum who had been through all this appreciated me and wished me the best of luck."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Life and Style
Men with beards rejoice: Your beard probably doesn't harbour faeces-like bacteria
health
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before