Doctor & Nurse Found Guilty of Manslaughter by Gross Negligence
In February 2011, Jack Adock, a six year old boy with Down’s syndrome, was admitted to Leicester Royal Infirmary with severe vomiting and diarrhoea. He later developed sepsis and died just 11 hours after entering the hospital, suffering a cardiac arrest.
Doctor Hadiza Bawa-Garba and an agency nurse, Isabel Amaro, have recently been sentenced for Jack’s manslaughter due to their “serious neglect”.
Nottingham Crown Court heard that at the time of the incident, Dr Bawa-Garba wrongly assumed that Jack was under a ‘do-not-resuscitate’ order and consequently stopped performing CPR.
The court also heard how agency nurse Amaro had failed ‘woefully’ to monitor Jack’s treatment whilst at the hospital. The prosecution told the court that Amaro had failed to then alert colleagues when the six year old’s conditioned worsened.
In her defence, Bawa-Garba said that on the day of the incident she had worked a twelve hour shift without any breaks. Bawa-Garba also expressed that there had been a significant lack of communication on the ward that day.
Amaro accepted a breach of her duty of care; however she denied that any failings on her part had a substantial contribution to Jack’s death.
Telling the pair that their medical careers “will come to an end”, Mr Justice Nichol said:
“Jack’s life was cut short prematurely. That was a tragedy. No sentence that I pass on you will alter it.
“There was no evidence that either of you neglected Jack because you were lazy or behaved for other selfish reasons.
“You both had other patients to attend to. The problem was that neither of you gave Jack the priority which this very sick boy deserved.”
Dr Bawa-Garba and Ms Amaro were found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence last month. According to Mr Justice Nichol, his sentencing of the pair was affected by their personal circumstances. Bawa-Garba is the primary guardian and sole carer of her autistic five year old son, who also suffers behavioural issues, while Amara’s own psychiatric condition was taken into consideration.
A second nurse, Theresa Taylor, 55, was also involved in the boy’s care; however Taylor was cleared of the same charge.
In an impact statement, Jack’s mother Nicky spoke of her anger:
“Jack was neglected from the moment he entered the Leicester Royal Infirmary Children’s Assessment Unit.
“I will never forgive myself for taking him there. I could have cared and looked after him better than they ever did.
“It makes me so angry to think that my son could still be here today if they had done their jobs right.”
Jack’s father Vic said in a second statement:
“I wish I could forgive them but at the moment I can’t and I don’t know if I ever can.
“To hear their excuses has been so hard to bear. I had to watch my little man laid to rest.”
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Source: BBC News