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Nurse found guilty of manslaughter after Leicester child death

  • 12 Comments

A nurse has been convicted of manslaughter by gross negligence of a child at Leicester Royal Infirmary.

Agency nurse Isabel Amaro, 47, was found guilty after a four week-trial concerning the death of six-year-old Jack Adcock.

The child, who had Down’s Syndrome, died of a cardiac arrest at the Leicester hospital in February 2011.

He was admitted to hospital with pneumonia but died around 11 hours later after sepsis was triggered by a bacterial infection.

Two other healthcare professionals – nurse Theresa Taylor and Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba – were charged with the same offence, which they denied.

Ms Taylor, who is a ward sister, was cleared. But Dr Bawa-Garba was also found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence.

According to reports, the jury heard the boy’s death was caused by “serious neglect on the part of the doctor and the two nurses”.

The prosecution claimed they failed to recognise he had gone into septic shock and was close to death.

Ms Amaro acknowledged she had breached her duty of care, but denied any of her failings were criminally negligent or significantly contributed to the youngster’s death.

The prosecution said Ms Amaro’s record-keeping of the boy’s life signs had been “woefully inaccurate”.

Dr Bawa-Garba was found guilty after she failed to diagnose the child was in septic shock. She also admitted she had failed to recognise abnormal blood results.

In addition, when Jack went into cardiac arrest Dr Bawa-Garba confused him with another child who was under a ‘do not resuscitate’ order, although the prosecution noted Jack was already “beyond the point of no return” by that stage.

Both nurses are subject to interim orders with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Ms Amaro was suspended from practice for 18 months in January.

Meanwhile, an NMC review hearing in July concluded Ms Taylor must continue to comply with certain conditions of practice.

The conditions include remaining under the supervision of a matron and fortnightly meetings to discuss clinical practice.

Andrew Furlong, interim medical director and children’s orthopaedic surgeon at the University Hospitals of Leicester Trust, which runs Leicester Royal Infirmary, said the organisation had improved its systems since the incident in 2011.

He said the “tragic event” was not reflective of the care provided by the organisation or its “dedicated, hard working staff”.

“The events of 18 February 2011 resulted in the death of a child and a family trying to come to terms with both their loss and the experiences of the past four years,” said Mr Furlong.

“We cannot bring Jack back and under the circumstances saying sorry does not seem enough. Nevertheless, we are deeply sorry and would like to again send our condolences to the Adcock family.

“Following Jack’s death we carried out a full investigation and have implemented a number of improvements to our systems and processes which have reduced the risk of such events occurring again,” he said.

“These events have ended the career of a promising young doctor.  Whilst this event is tragic and will concern people who may need to use our hospitals it is not reflective of the care we provide or the dedicated hard working staff who work for us,” he added.

  • 12 Comments

Readers' comments (12)

  • A tragedy for everyone involved. My immediate reaction: would this have happened if staffing levels were better? And, has yet another nurse who would otherwise have learned from their mistakes been driven out of her profession by the regulatory body, thus making the staffing levels even worse....

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  • Suspended??? Sack her!

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  • more than tragic, and although staffing levels are poor across the country, neglect is still neglect. all concerned deserved the sack.
    They all should be ashamed, basic care was not provided, if it were this would not have been happened. People with special needs should not be over looked.

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  • You always suspend pending a court case, generally the NMC will strike off post.

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  • Disgraceful how the hospital has managed to avoid any blame/responsibility by throwing a doctor and two nurses to the sharks. No mention of staffing levels, management-imposed procedural restrictions, competence checking by the employer and all the thousand other factors that WILL have contributed to the tragic outcome that day.

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  • This case demonstrates why tough action must be taken by all nurses to flag up and get good staffing ratio to patients. NOW. We can refuse a patient load at handover. if we feel we are being put into an unsafe situation.

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  • Totally agree with above comment. How did the hospital management escape blame. What were the staffing levels.

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  • Staffing levels would be interesting to know but I'm sorry, neglect is neglect. As nurses, we know when a patient is poorly and a doctor failing to recognise abnormal blood results is unnacceptable.

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  • Anonymous | 5-Nov-2015 8:29 am

    Nobody is suggesting that negligence wasn't there, simply that there will have been factors leading to that situation, such as staffing levels, morale, levels, etc. The hospital appears to have shrugged off any involvement/responsibility whatsoever.

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  • Don't know where you HAVE to have other factors helping the old Negligence along. Certainly morale wouldn't come into it ………I hope. Staffing levels either. A nurse has to be able to prioritise. It is something that is required day in/day out. Stop making excuses. Negligence is what it is. Nothing more, nothing less.

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