An elderly hospital patient suffered severe brain damage and died after staff turned down the volume on an alarm system monitoring his heart.Ahhh, those caring NHS staff…
An investigation found the volume of the heart-monitor alarm had been turned down to 40 per cent of its maximum on November 21, 2008.An accident? Carelessness?
The speakers had also been turned the wrong way and covered in paperwork.
An inquest sitting with a jury at Hanley Town Hall yesterday heard the volume could not have been reduced accidentally as someone has to change the settings on a computer system.Under questioning, the staff adopt the sort of attitude you’d expect from state-run healthcare ‘professionals’:
Margaret Archer, a sister at the hospital at the time of the incident, said she had not heard the crisis alarm sound when Mr Bough’s condition worsened.Are you sure?
North Staffordshire coroner Ian Smith asked her: ‘Is this a case where someone on your shift has just turned the volume down, or has it been like this for some considerable time?’
She replied: ‘I don’t know. I wouldn’t have allowed anyone to do it.’
Because clearly you didn’t notice the speakers or the paperwork, so we can only conclude you were quite happy to allow that…
After restarting Mr Bough’s heart, Dr Satchi checked the telemetry system that monitors the heart rates of up to ten patients on the ward.And the verdict?
‘I checked the monitor, which appeared to still be flashing red, but there was no audible alarm,’ he said.
‘I checked the screen to see if it had detected an abnormal heart rhythm and it had done so for between 15 and 17 minutes.’
Mr Smith told Dr Satchi: ‘Had he been treated promptly, the likelihood is you would have got his heart back earlier and he wouldn’t have suffered the significant brain damage he did.’
Dr Satchi replied: ‘Yes.’
As Mr Bough’s relatives sobbed in the gallery, the coroner ruled that he died of natural causes ‘exacerbated by an act of omission causing alerts from the heart monitoring to not be seen or heard’Why not call it what it was – criminal negligence?