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Last Updated: Friday, 1 July, 2005, 19:21 GMT 20:21 UK
Pay-out over baby's body on shelf
Steven and Lisa Cooper with their daughter
The Coopers now have a nine-month-old daughter called Sydney
A hospital has agreed a 10,000 out-of-court settlement with a couple whose stillborn daughter's body was left in a cupboard for three days.

Lisa and Steve Cooper, from Swanley, Kent, were distraught when baby Lexie was stillborn at St Thomas' Hospital, south-east London, on 8 September 2003.

Mr Cooper was horrified to find her body had been left on a shelf across the corridor from his wife's room.

Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Trust said it had apologised to Lexie's parents.

However, the settlement and apology both came without admission of liability.

Lexie was born by Caesarean section and Mr Cooper said he had assumed her body would be taken to the hospital mortuary.

"It was only on the Tuesday [the day after the birth] that I went into the cupboard to get the baby's bag and saw that Lexie was on the shelf."

St Thomas' Hospital
Lexie Cooper was stillborn at St Thomas' Hospital

Mr Cooper remembered the hospital authorities then telling him the body would be removed.

However, he said he could not help but look in the cupboard again the following morning.

"I opened the door and she was still there in the same spot, not even moved to a different shelf or a different area in the cupboard," added Mr Cooper.

"To feel that I told them on many, many occasions that she was there, and to find that she was there on Wednesday afternoon, Wednesday night and Thursday morning, and for me to still see her there, is an absolute disgrace.

"I just don't understand why they didn't move her."

Lexie was still in the cupboard when the couple left hospital and Mrs Cooper walked across from her room to say goodbye.

Changes to procedures

The NHS Foundation Trust said it had apologised to the couple in September 2003 for the distress caused to them.

Steven Cooper
Steve Cooper is always reminded of what happened to Lexie

"We also fully investigated the incident and met with the family, who received a copy of the investigation report in November 2003," it said in a statement.

"As a result of this unfortunate incident we have made some changes to our procedures."

The family's solicitor said the trust quickly dealt with the claim and settled it.

Mr Cooper and his wife accepted the settlement because they could not face going to court.

But he said he will never be satisfied because Guy's and St Thomas' had not "admitted that they were 100% responsible".

"To lose Lexie and then have her treated in the way she was treated... I will never be happy."

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