NMC suspends nurse after meningitis baby death error
A nurse who failed to administer drugs to a five-month-old baby with meningitis and neglected other sick children has been handed a 12-month suspension.
Titilola Orefuwa admitted seven charges at a hearing in front of the Conduct and Competence Committee last week. The charges related to incidents which took place during her time as a staff nurse at Basildon and Thurrock University Hospital in Essex between January 2006 and April 2010.
The NMC revealed Ms Orefuwa was close to being struck off but the panel ultimately decided a year-long suspension was more appropriate.
The incident relating to the baby of five months occurred on March 3, 2010. The nurse did not record what she had done during her shift that day and ignored a doctor’s advice to put the infant on restricted fluids.
Nursing staff on the next shift were forced to ask the baby’s mother whether Ms Orefuwa had given her child any medication, which she had not.
The nurse was also guilty of leaving a child who required continuous supervision in the care of a hospital porter. The patient was under sedation and on oxygen ahead of an MRI scan. Ms Orefuwa left an untrained member of staff in charge while she fielded a call from the child’s mother.
“This meant the child was unsupervised and was at potential great risk if the child’s condition unstabilised,” said Rebecca Wood, of the NMC.
Ms Orefuwa rejected instruction by a senior nurse to switch to the neonatal ward from her regular station in a 16-bed children’s ward, despite previously agreeing to cover the shift on June 15, 2008. The tribunal heard she was “pissed off” and preferred to go home instead. The nurse was guilty of using “aggressive and inappropriate language” in front of children and parents.
In the space of 24 hours, Ms Orefuwa also failed to acknowledge a baby’s monitor alarm and subsequently admitted to not caring for the patient properly, even though the child was her only patient. Ms Orefuwa left the ward without carrying out an official handover to another nurse while the baby was sick.
The tribunal also heard how the nurse left the room while she was in the process of catching fluid from a baby undergoing a lumbar puncture. The procedure had to be repeated and the child was subjected to unnecessary stress and pain.
Two days before she left the hospital, Ms Orefuwa admitted giving medication through a drip and administering insulin to a patient on April 23, 2010 while banned.
The nurse, who has 28 days to appeal the decision, was also accused of being on Facebook while looking after a critically ill child, as well as facing another charge relating to updates on a drug chart. However, the NMC did not have enough evidence to proceed.