Two Nurses Charged with Negligence

In a hearing, apparently two nurses were not around when an elderly patient died from choking on a bit of sausage after they were not able to resuscitate him.

Maureen Harper and Patrick Wilson-Canning let the 80-year-old patient, who had Alzheimer’s, to eat the wrong meal without supervision, and this was reported to the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

It was said that after he was found just slumped where he was seated, the two nurses did not follow the orders given by an ambulance controller to give the patient resuscitation.

The police investigated this event, which was at the Southdowns Nursing Home in St. Leonards-on-Sea in East Sussex, however, no charges were pressed on the 2 nurses.

According to David Clark, for the NMC, the meal that was given to patient A consisted of mashed potatoes, sausages, gravy and peas. The meal was given to the patient all cut up in tiny pieces by a healthcare assistant, however, he ate his meal without any supervision, he continued.

Unfortunately, a bit of the sausage was stuck in the patient’s windpipe, which caused his death, and he was proclaimed dead by the paramedics who were there to tend to him.

The NMC heard that Harper and Wilson-Canning declined to attempt to resuscitate the elder for the reason that he was old and that he had dementia.

According to Wilson-Canning, the elderly patient “just” fell down and was believed to be breathing still in records from the 999 call which was read aloud at the hearing.

However, when Harper was requested to attempt to save him some minutes later, she stated that it was too late already because the patient had already died.

When Russell Bliss, the emergency services call operator, stated the instructions once again, she stated that there were two of them trained nurses there.

So when Bliss asked if there was anybody doing CPR, she answered that there wasn’t, and that the patient is a demented person so resuscitation isn’t needed.

The phone was given back to Wilson-Canning, that’s the time when the operator wanted to know why they wouldn’t try to revive the patient, to which he replied that there was no specific reason, it was just his age, dementia, and his bones, and he was brittle.

Later, Bliss documented the call as an improper incident for the reason that the two nurses were unable to go on and attempt to save the patient, he said on the hearing.

His notes reflected that as soon as the instructions were provided, the staff then became unhelpful and declined resuscitation, despite trained nurses being on the area.

For the duration of the call, the pair said that they had assessed the patient’s throat and airways, and found both to be clear, yet, paramedics who attended the incident discovered two bits of sausage stuck in the patient’s windpipe, he stated.

Apparently, the paramedics struggled to get access to the home in order to save the pensioner, who was found later to have choked on a bit of a sausage that got stuck in his windpipe, this was told to the hearing.

At the time, Wilson-Canning and Harper were the two registered nurses who were on duty at the place, which provides care for 30 elderly patients who have mental health problems, not excluding the involved patient.

The day before the incident, a doctor had visited the patient regarding his problem with swallowing, however, the two nurses supposedly were unable to update his care plan to include this.

Mr. Clark said there wasn’t a success to thoroughly assess his mouth and airways, nor was there any attempt to revive the patient after he fell down.

Both Wilson-Canning and Harper face a chain of charges which includes not updating the patient’s care plan when it was obvious that he had problems with swallowing, a sore throat, and that he had declined breakfast.

Both are also accused of not being able to provide the needed basic life support to the patient.

Harper is charged with giving the patient an inappropriate meal given the fact that he was with sore throat and had trouble swallowing, and not making sure that he was supervised while having his meal based on his care plan.

Should their fitness to practice be learned to be impaired due to misconduct, they could be struck off.

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