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Nurse admits failing to undertake observations at Darlington hospital

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A nurse walked away after he was approached for help by a colleague over a 10-year-old boy who later died of meningitis, a disciplinary hearing has ruled.

Christopher Kirby admitted failing to undertake observations including temperature, pulse rate and blood pressure or record 10-year-old William Cressey’s condition in his medical notes during his shift on the paediatric unit at Darlington Memorial Hospital on February 28, 2005.

A NMC panel ruled that Mr Kirby had said words to the effect of “well you know what to do with that don’t you …just don’t touch it” when asked for help by a colleague about complaints that William had painful eyes. He then walked away, the hearing ruled.

The schoolboy, from Croft, Co Durham, was admitted to Darlington Memorial Hospital on February 27, 2005 after his mother Cheryl Cressey, brought him to the accident and emergency department reporting that her son had a headache and a pain in his right ear, the NMC heard. He was discharged from the hospital at 6pm the following day.

Mrs Cressey brought him back to the paediatric unit three hours later but his condition deteriorated and he was transferred to Newcastle General Hospital where he died in the early hours of March 1, the NMC was told.

Darlington Memorial Hospital was criticised by a coroner in 2009 for failing to spot that William was gravely ill.

The inquest at Newcastle Civic Centre heard that when the schoolboy returned to the hospital and was in a lot of pain he begged one doctor: “Please help me - if you don’t help me, I’m going to die.”

Yet the desperate youngster was refused antibiotics until it was too late and eventually suffered a massive seizure, slipping into a coma from which he never recovered.

Newcastle Coroner David Mitford, recording a narrative verdict, said his death was due to natural causes “to which a delay in giving anti-biotic treatment for meningitis may have contributed.”

Meningitis was considered and discounted by consultants involved after examination on the morning of February 28, the inquest was told.

Derek Zeitlin, for the NMC, told the panel that there was no suggestion that Mr Kirby’s actions had contributed to William’s death.


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  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

  • This man probably should be struck off.
    But much more importantly what is being done to the clowns who discharged him, and the Drs who failed to spot sepsis and treat it promptly.

    There are many who should be punished in this sort of case.

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