Baby P doctor 'deeply affected by tragic death'

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A doctor accused of failing to spot Baby P's broken ribs and back during an examination has spoken of the "shocking and tragic circumstances of his death".

Dr Sabah Al-Zayyat, who is facing an investigation and has been banned from working unsupervised, said in a statement that she had been "deeply affected" by events.

The toddler died in a blood-splattered cot in August last year after suffering more than 50 injuries at the hands of his abusive mother, her boyfriend and a lodger.

Dr Al-Zayyat examined Baby P at a child development clinic at St Ann's Hospital in north London shortly before his death.

The doctor, who qualified in Pakistan and worked in Saudi Arabia before coming to Britain in 2004, noticed bruises to his body.

But she decided she could not carry out a full systemic examination as the boy was "miserable and cranky".

A post-mortem examination later revealed injuries including a broken back and ribs, believed to have been obtained prior to the examination.

Dr Al-Zayyat has since had her contract terminated with Great Ormond Street Hospital, which is responsible for child services in Haringey, and has been banned from working unsupervised until the end of an inquiry.

In a statement made through the Medical Protection Society, which gives professional indemnity to healthcare professionals, Dr Al-Zayyat said: "Like everyone involved in this case, I have been deeply affected by the shocking and tragic circumstances of this young child's death.

"My professional career has been devoted to the care of children. I will cooperate with any investigation to identify whether lessons can be learnt from this case - but I feel it would be inappropriate to provide any further comment to the press at this time."

Yesterday it emerged that three doctors had warned that Baby P appeared to be suffering physical abuse before his death.

A consultant paediatrician and two other medical experts concluded that bruises found on the little boy's body suggested "non-accidental" injuries.

The revelation came amid increased calls for a full public inquiry into how Haringey Council in north London failed to prevent Baby P's death.

The authority itself came under attack during a highly-charged meeting last night at which its leader was urged to stand down.

Councillor George Meehan brushed off calls for his resignation but issued a "heartfelt and unreserved" apology on behalf of the council and himself personally.

He expressed sorry for "the suffering he endured" and the "failure of all the child protection agencies" to save the baby's life.

He issued an apology to "all those who knew and cared for the wellbeing of Baby P".

Mr Meehan continued: "There is no failure to apologise in full by this council, we do so unreservedly.

"There is no failure to recognise our accountability, we do so and await the report of the (Government) review."

Members of the public shouted "shame" and "how many more must die?" during the cabinet meeting.