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Nurse struck off for ignoring baby heart monitor alarm

A Great Ormond Street Hospital nurse has been struck off after ignoring an alarm on a six-month-old’s heart monitor.

A disciplinary panel of the Nursing and Midwifery Council heard that Nicola Waterfall, 31, silenced the emergency alarm while working on the high-dependency section of a ward at the London hospital so that she could talk to the parents of a child in another bed.

The alarms only sound if the baby’s heart level falls to a dangerously low level.

The baby did not die but the panel ruled that Miss Waterfall was a ‘danger to the public’, saying she ‘should not have taken her attention away from her patient, even for a short period’.

The nurse from north London had been involved in previous incidents of ‘defective performance’ before the incident in January 2006, the panel heard.

Between 2001 and 2006 Miss Waterfall, who had been seconded to the ward from another unit in the hospital, had been involved in ‘numerous serious incidents of defective performance’. The panel ruled that she was not fit to practise and struck her off the register.


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