Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Nurse 'silenced baby's heart monitor'

A nurse was struck off after she silenced the emergency alarm on a baby's heart monitor, it emerged today.

Nicola Waterfall ignored the six-month-old's alarm while working on the high dependency section of a ward at Great Ormond Street Hospital. A disciplinary panel of the Nursing and Midwifery Council found Miss Waterfall had been involved with previous incidents of "defective performance" and ruled she was still a "danger to the public".

The panel ruled the 31-year-old from north London was not fit to practice and she was struck off the register following the incident during a night shift in January 2006. Miss Waterfall turned off the baby's emergency alarm so she could talk to the parents of a child in another bed, the hearing was told.The alarm would only sound if the baby's heart level had fallen to a dangerously low level...

The panel said: "An emergency alarm was sounding because the baby's heart rate had fallen to a dangerously low level. Miss Waterfall's attention should have been fully occupied with her patient. Instead she seems to have given priority to the conversation she was having with the parents of the other child. She should not have taken her attention away from her patient, even for a short period. "The alarm was sounding at its highest level, indicating an emergency. Miss Waterfall turned to silence the alarm, then turned back to the parents and continued to talk to them."

Between 2001 and 2006 Miss Waterfall had been involved in "numerous serious incidents of defective performance", the hearing was told. The panel said: "Some of these have endangered the lives of the patients under her care. The hospital seems to have given her every possible support to improve her practice."

Miss Waterfall did not attend the hearing.
Source: The Metro

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