Doctor will not face tot death charges

POLICE have dropped an investigation into a Sheffield doctor accused of potentially perverting the course of justice during an inquest into the death of a tiny baby.

Sheffield Coroner Christopher Dorries contacted South Yorkshire Police after the inquest of Julia Gujdanoca, a six-month-old baby who died of a heart attack at Sheffield Children's Hospital in October 2009.

Her grieving father told The Star he was "appalled" police failed to pursue criminal charges against a senior doctor accused of trying to pressure a junior colleague to change her evidence during the hearing.

Assistant deputy coroner David Urpeth recorded a verdict of death caused by neglect and said the hospital had committed "gross failures to provide basic medical attention" for Julia, who had suffered from an undiagnosed genetic condition since birth.

The inquest, held last November, heard Julia died after being moved from intensive care onto a regular ward which could not cater for her complex needs.

Police were contacted after Sheffield Coroners' Court heard that senior paediatric consultant Anton Mayer - who made the decision to move Julia out of intensive care - pressured intensive care doctor Faith Harries to change her evidence during the inquest. During the hearing medical director Derek Burke revealed Dr Harries had admitted Dr Mayer told her what to say.

Dr Burke said: "Dr Mayer had told Dr Harries that all she had to do is say the child was stable and to say the transfer was appropriate."

Coroner Urpeth said he had "only got to the truth" after "some rather robust questioning".

He said: "I have been disappointed with the reluctance of some witnesses to be as helpful as they could have been. This court should not have to suffer evasiveness from professional witnesses."

Two months after the inquest, the police investigation has been dropped with no charges brought. Officers confirmed they had interviewed witnesses but found no evidence of a crime.

A police spokeswoman said: "Having reviewed the inquest proceedings, as referred by the coroner, and interviewed witnesses involved, we can confirm that we have found nothing that warrants a criminal investigation."

Julia's father Peter Nistor, who is originally from Slovakia, said: "Why have they done nothing more about this? I am not happy at all."

Mr Nistor, aged 29, who lives with his wife Eva Gujdanoca, 24, and four-year-old daughter Emilia, in Eastwood, Rotherham, said he was pursuing legal action against the Children's Hospital Trust.

Chris Sharratt, chief executive at Sheffield Children's NHS Foundation Trust, said: "The Trust has extended its deepest sympathy to the family of Julia Gujdanoca on her tragic death.

We take this matter very seriously and, following the conclusion of the police investigation, will now be holding our own internal investigation."

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