A nurse who caused the death of a little girl by incorrectly inserting a feeding tube during her treatment in hospital has been struck off the medical register.
Phoebe Willis died aged only ten-years-old after complaining of pain during the procedure carried out by nurse Carrie-Anne Nash.
The child suffered from a rare genetic condition, cystinosis, which meant she had to be fed through a tube, which would be changed every three or four months.
Staff at the hospital called in Ms Nash, a feeding tube specialist who worked for company Nutricia, to change the equipment as no-one else had the expertise to do so – but the little girl died less than 48 hours later.
A misconduct hearing at the Nursing and Midwifery Council deemed Ms Nash behaved in a way which “fell significantly short of the standards expected of a registered nurse”.
A panel at the hearing decided that she had failed to respond to Phoebe’s distress, which showed that the tube had not been fitted properly at Weston General Hospital in August 2012.
The panel’s report said: “You [Ms Nash] should have known from your expertise and training these signs… were indicators of a misplaced tube.”
A failure to make timely records of Phoebe’s condition was also noted as a “serious departure from the standards expected of a registered nurse,” and Ms Nash was said to have put her at “unwarranted risk of harm.”
The report stated: “By virtue of your actions and omissions you put Phoebe at unwarranted risk of harm, brought the profession into disrepute and breached fundamental tenets of the nursing profession.”
The panel raised concerns Ms Nash had tried to justify her actions and did not show an insight into the “seriousness of her failings,” and that she was at risk of repeating the fatal error.
It added in the report: “There remains a real risk of repetition of the misconduct found proved.”
Ruling that the nurse, who formerly had an “unblemished career,” should not be able to practice medicine, the panel struck Ms Nash off the medical register with an initial 18-month suspension period to give her the opportunity to appeal.
After considering whether she could continue to practice with certain conditions in place, it was decided that this “would not protect the public.”
The document noted: “It considered that your grave failures, as particularised in the facts found proved, were a significant departure from the standards expected of a registered nurse and contributed to the death of a particularly vulnerable patient.”
Phoebe lived in Locking, Somerset, with her parents Julian and Heather Willis, who usually changed her feeding tube themselves, but after struggling to do so, took her to hospital.
During and after the procedure Phoebe complained of being in pain, and was eventually taken to Bristol Children’s Hospital where she died on August 26, 2012, of peritonitis.
The misconduct hearing was told that Ms Nash had a formerly “unblemished career” and was working in an unfamiliar hospital. She was said to have shown “considerable remorse”.
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