Medical care blunder

Nurse accidently cuts off finger of 5-week old baby

By Gary Hatigeva

A nurse (name withheld) at the National Referral Hospital (NRH) has been accused of negligence and dereliction of duty which resulted in a five-week old baby girl’s finger being cut off.

The baby had been taken to the national referral hospital for medical care.

This happened on Tuesday this week at the children’s ward when the nurse was reportedly attempting to remove a plaster and bandage around the baby’s right hand.

The bandage and plaster according to the father, Willie John from East Guadalcanal, were put on by earlier shifts for drips given to the baby after being first attended to in the afternoon of that day.

John said after settling in at the children’s ward, their baby was getting the fever again, and so they called on the nurses on duty at that time for assistance.

He said following a quick check on the baby, the nurse who attended went away and came back to give their daughter her second drip.

He recalled that it was during the process of trying to identify the spot on the baby’s hand for her second drip, when the finger-cutting incident occurred.

He said because the spot was identified on the left hand, the nurse was asked to check on the bandaged right hand, where the first drip was given.

“I don’t know what the procedures are especially when dealing with infants, but I thought it was careless of the nurse’s part to use the scissors,” the young father stressed.

He further recalled that when the nurse was cutting through the bandage and plaster, the baby was crying out loud for a while and then stopped.

“The crying was on and off during the process of cutting, and to our surprise, even the nurse, the bandage fell off with blood all over it and my baby’s hand was bleeding and we suddenly realised that it was her finger that had fell with the bandage,” the new dad explained.

The Guadalcanal man however stressed and questioned, why the nurse was not able to differentiate the pressure of knowing if the scissors was actually cutting through the bandage and something harder than the bandage.

Upon realising the incident done to their daughter, the parents said they were lost for words and looking on with shock that something as awful has happened to their baby.

John also explained that while he and his wife were still in shock and disbelief over what had happened, the nurse attempted to apologise to them and begged to offer money.

“The nurse actually took out a bundle of cash, which we are not sure of its value, and begged me to take it as a form of trying to say sorry for what had happened, but we refused the money. The money will not fix my baby’s finger.”

John revealed that he and his wife were given counselling, but said the counselling will not help their baby’s situation.

“Of course it is part of their duty to do especially when going through such situations, will you accept this? Don’t you think it will affect my baby’s life when she grows up? Where is the duty of care?

“We are therefore challenging management of the National Referral Hospital to explain not just to us but to all Solomon Islanders. Again, how is it that the registered nurse tend to carry out duties like a trainee and careless attitudes?

“Management of the National Referral Hospital has to explain a lot of things to us and then afterwards, if it is not satisfactory, of course, nothing can change the way things have happened, but we believe in victory of good over evil and we are looking to go to court over this,” the unhappy father vowed.

He said they blamed the medical practitioners on duty, and it was not their intention to rundown the sacrifice of medical practitioners but they are not ruling out carelessness and negligence of duty in their way of doing things at the Hospital.

“We will not entirely discount the fact that incidents of similar nature through whichever means is an everyday activity at the National Referral Hospital,” he added.

John and his wife came over to Honiara from the province over five weeks ago, for the delivery of their first born baby.

After being discharged from hospital, they went to leave with relatives where they spent over a month in town with intentions to allow for the baby to grow stronger and fit to travel, before they can make their way back to Isabel where the wife was doing some internship work there.

On Monday, the John and his wife took their baby down to the Rove clinic for further medical care after the baby felt sick from swells at the back of her head.

The family made it to the clinic only to be referred to the NRH, which they did the next day, only to find themselves in an awful situation, which they believe will affect their daughter for the rest of her life.

Meanwhile, a senior management official from the NRH, who wished not to be named, spoken to on this said the alleged conduct of the nurse if true, was unfortunate and does not represent what nursing is all about, but formal comments in response and clarification from the National Referral Hospital Management is being sought.

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