Login | Register

Paralyzed Man Brain Damaged After Nurse Accidentally Switches Off His Life Support, UK

A paralyzed man being cared for in his home in Wiltshire, UK, was left brain-damaged after an agency nurse working for the NHS allegedly switched off his ventilator by mistake.

The incident, which occurred in January 2009, was caught on a bedside camera that 37-year old tetraplegic Jamie Merret had arranged to be installed only days before, because he was worried about the care he was receiving, according to a BBC News report.

The footage on the BBC website, accompanied by Health Correspondent Matthew Hill’s narrative, shows the nurse, Violeta Aylward, switching off Merret’s ventilator, and Merret, who is apparently aware of what has happened, trying to attract attention by clicking with his tongue.

It shows Aylward calling for help from a carer while she tries to fit an “Ambu bag” to Merret to help him breathe, but she is fitting it incorrectly, explains Hill, adding that it took 14 minutes for paramedics to arrive and then fit the hand-held pressure ventilator correctly to the hole in his neck.

Merret’s life support was off for 21 minutes before being restarted by the paramedics. But by then the damage to the brain was already done, said the BBC report.

His sister Karen Reynolds told the BBC that her brother’s life was now completely changed, “he doesn’t have a life, he has an existence”, she said. His mental capacity is now equivalent to that of a young child, she added, explaining that:

“He was a highly intelligent man and you could have long in-depth conversations with him and now it tends to be more simplistic.”

Reynolds, who is considering legal action, said her brother sent emails explaining his concerns to the health authorities but they did not act on them.

Merret was being cared for in his home in Devizes, Wiltshire, after a road accident in 2002 left him paralyzed from the neck down. He was able to have a conversation, control a wheelchair, and use a voice-activated computer.

However, he was very concerned about mistakes that had been made in his care, and had relayed his worries to NHS Wiltshire. He then had the webcam installed by his bedside, which gave a clear view of him in his bed and the controls of the life-support equipment next to it.

Aylward works for Ambition 24hours, an agency that provides services to the National Health Service (NHS), care homes, private hospitals, and individuals.

The agency has been in business since 1996 and has branches across England and Wales, reports the Telegraph.

NHS Wiltshire Primary Care Trust has issued a statement that says they have put in place a “series of actions to ensure that such an event will not occur again”.

They said as the issue may go to court, they are restricted in making further comments.

Ambition 24hours said they could not comment while an internal investigation was under way.

But a confidential report from Wiltshire social services that was leaked to the BBC’s Inside Out program suggests the agency was aware of its responsibility to provide a nurse who was trained in the use of a ventilator, but the systems the company had in place to check the staff it provided were correctly trained were inadequate.

Meanwhile, Aylward has been suspended while her regulating professional body, the Nursing and Midwifery Council, investigate the incident.



One Response to “Paralyzed Man Brain Damaged After Nurse Accidentally Switches Off His Life Support, UK”

  • […] October 25, 2010: Paralyzed Man Brain Damaged After Nurse Accidentally Switches Off His Life Support… October 24, 2010: Malaria-Transmitting Mosquito Evolving, NIH Grantees Find October 24, 2010: Research Shows a Phone Call can Improve Diabetic Condition October 23, 2010: Too Many Sisters Affect Male Sexuality October 23, 2010: The Impact Of Chronic Diseases On Patients Also Depends On Their Perception Of The Disease October 23, 2010: Researchers Develop First Implanted Device To Treat Balance Disorder October 22, 2010: Low-Dose Aspirin May Cut Risk Of Developing And Dying From Colon Cancer October 21, 2010: Superior Sedation Method For Children Revealed By Study October 21, 2010: Miniature Solar Cells Might Make Chemotherapy Less Toxic October 21, 2010: Malaria Much Bigger Killer In India Than We Thought October 19, 2010: Real-Time Non-Invasive Blood Monitor Could Cut Transfusions During Surgery October 17, 2010: Need A Study Break To Refresh? Maybe Not, Say Stanford Researchers October 17, 2010: New Research Helps Clinicians Predict Treatment Outcomes For Children With OCD October 16, 2010: Melanin Production Controlled By Molecular Switch, May Allow True Sunless Tanning October 15, 2010: Lay Bystanders Should Do Just Chest Compressions, No Mouth-To-Mouth October 14, 2010: Link Between Vegetable Consumption And Decreased Breast Cancer Risk In African-American Women October 14, 2010: Age-Related Memory Loss In Mice Reversed By Promising Drug Candidate October 12, 2010: Higher Kidney Stone Risk For Postmenopausal Women On Estrogen Therapy October 11, 2010: Common Prostate Cancer Treatment Linked To Bone Decay October 10, 2010: Discovery Could Impact How The Body Receives Medicine October 10, 2010: Thoughts About Time Inspire People To Socialize October 8, 2010: Insoluble Medicines Can Be Made Orally Available If In Nano Crystal October 7, 2010: Hidden In Your Genes There May Be A Thirst For Excitement October 7, 2010: AACN Applauds The New Institute Of Medicine Report Calling For Transformational Change In Nursing Education And Practice October 5, 2010: Human Growth Hormone Shows Promise In Treating Cystic Fibrosis Symptoms October 5, 2010: Researchers Identify First Ever Treatment Effective Against Terminal Cancer In Animals October 1, 2010: 12 Percent Of Workers Would Choose To Quit Or Retire Rather Than Report For Work During A Serious Pandemic […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *