Blunder nurse is struck off over care concerns

A SICK Kids nurse who thought she could revive a child by performing chest compressions on its stomach has been struck off for a string of blunders.

By David O’Leary
Tuesday, 27th November 2012, 12:00 pm

Nicola Dodds admitted 14 charges of incompetence and dishonesty at a hearing which judged there would be “real potential for patient harm” if she was allowed to continue in her job.

All the complaints related to her tenure at the Critical Care Unit at the Sick Kids hospital, which lasted just five months.

During this period, the Napier University graduate was found to have lied three times about the care she administered to patients and lacked an understanding of “basic life support”.

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Ms Dodds told staff she had changed a five-year-old’s nappy which had been soiled overnight before being confronted with sodden evidence and admitting she “hadn’t quite got around to it”.

In a practice scenario – involving a child being fed a milk drink and turning blue around the mouth – Ms Dodds began thumping the child in the back rather than providing oxygen and calling for help. When asked where she would apply pressure during a chest compression exercise on a baby doll she pointed to its stomach.

Nursing supervisors also told how she once transferred a patient to a new room and attempted to leave without saying a word to him or his family, and had failed to notify a supervisor that she had spilt drugs.

Ms Dodds, who lives in Tranent, also admitted lying about care given to patients, accepting a request to make up a syringe of morphine when she knew the task was beyond her remit, attempting to give a water soluble tablet to a patient without mixing it with water and failing to perform Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy checks on a spinal surgery patient.

On another occasion, Ms Dodds was asked several times to draw up more of a drug into a syringe and appeared not to notice that there was virtually nothing in it. She also documented a fluid level the same for a whole shift, failed to set alarms on lifesaving monitoring equipment and did not how to check for a pulse when assessed.

It was also found she had “failed to maintain a safe environment” by not carrying out a timely patient assessment, not performing a timely emergency check, setting inappropriate alarm limits on monitoring equipment and failing to set alarm limits on monitoring 

A panel at the Nursing and Midwifery Council concluded that “while there is no evidence of harm caused to patients in this case, the panel notes that without the strict supervision and 
support by the trust, there was a real potential for patient harm”. It determined that Ms Dodds’ fitness to practice was “impaired by reason of lack of competence and 

Ms Dodds later told bosses she was not going to achieve the standards to become a “safe and competent nurse” and resigned. She has now secured a post as a baby room supervisor in a private day care nursery and said she has no intention of continuing her medical career.

She told the News: “I’m currently holding down another role and that’s where I will stay. I chose not to attend the hearing and have no intention of coming back to work at the NHS.”

Too busy to treat broken neck

DETAILS of a series of Lothian health blunders have been revealed after 30 secret documents were made public.

On one occasion, a patient fell and reported neck, back and head pain to a nursing assistant. She was given a paracetamol tablet to ease her pain, as ward staff were told that a doctor was too busy to attend immediately as it was a public holiday.

After five attempts to contact a doctor, an ambulance was called for the patient, who it transpired had a fractured neck.

Jackson Carlaw MSP, Conservative health spokesperson, said: “Too often the NHS reaches a financial agreement with victims – itself a massive burden on the health service – without taking full responsibility and ensuring it never happens again.”

The incident reports were obtained as part of a BBC investigation, screened last night.

Dr David Farquharson, NHS Lothian’s medical director, said: “When any incident takes place, we ensure it is managed effectively to establish the circumstances of the event. Those findings and resulting recommendations are then put into practice.”