Critically ill patient’s blood spilt on sheets

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AN INEXPERIENCED agency nurse accused of leaving a critically ill patient’s drip unattached and spilling blood over his sheets has denied she acted irresponsibly while working at a private hospital in Sheffield.

Celestina Obi told bosses at the private Thornbury Hospital in Ranmoor she was qualified to work on a high-dependency ward, despite not having the necessary skills, it is alleged.

She had five chances to own up but kept quiet because she was terrified of upsetting her managers, the Nursing and Midwifery Council heard.

Jamie Hunt, for the NMC, said Obi had been given ample opportunity to confess to staff nurse Lynn Gibson, during the shift on November 21, 2008.

But Obi told the hearing: “I was thinking I didn’t want to cause more annoyance by telling her I don’t want to take it up because I was unqualified.”

Nurse Gibson noticed blood spilling from an IV tube connected to the patient, known only as Patient A, at around 8am, the hearing was told.

Shortly afterwards she also noticed a saline drip had been incorrectly connected to the patient’s arterial line, while a gelofusine infusion – used to replace lost fluids – was wrongly attached to another drip line in the patient’s neck.

At this point, Mr Hunt said nurse Gibson ordered Obi out to the nurse’s station.

He questioned: “This was an opportunity for you to explain to her that you were not qualified to undertake work on the high-dependency unit?”

Obi told the hearing: “Perhaps, yes”.

But she said she was unclear on the extent of the training that was expected of her.

“I was asked if I was high dependency unit qualified and I said yes,” she said.

“It was not explained. It was only at the point I was asked to take blood I knew it was something I could not cope with.”

Blunders were spotted when Obi failed to follow instructions from nurse Gibson to draw a sample from the patient for a blood test and remove his arterial line.

Obi said: “I was all along thinking about the patient.

“I did not want to do anything that could cause more harm than there had already been to the life of the patient by trying to carry on with instructions.

“I wasn’t confident to do them and didn’t have the training to do them.”

She has since undergone training in the giving of intravenous fluids and life support, the hearing was told.

Obi admits not identifying Patient A’s peripheral line was not attached to a drip and not drawing blood from him when asked to.

But she denies not identifying saline or dextrose saline was incorrectly connected to his arterial line, not identifying another drip was connected to his central line, and not removing the arterial line when instructed to.

She also denies that her fitness to practice is impaired.

If found guilty of misconduct she could be struck off the nursing register.

The hearing continues.