Internal Code: MAS5514
In May 2016, the Professional Standards Committee (PSC) held an inquiry into the conduct of two Registered Nurses (RNs). A six-month old baby was taken to the Emergency Department of a rural hospital and was under the care of both the nurses. On arrival at the
hospital, an initial diagnosis of gastroenteritis was made. It was later determined by medical staff that the baby had been suffering from a bowel obstruction, at which point a decision was made to transfer the baby by ambulance to a tertiary hospital where sadly the infant later died. The complaint alleged that the nurses failed to appropriately manage or communicate with the paediatrician changes and responses to the patients' condition or maintain appropriate clinical records of observation. A finding of unsatisfactory professional conduct against both practitioners was made, in response to allegations arising from the circumstances surrounding the death of the infant. A paediatrician was also charged with unsatisfactory professional conduct during a separate PSC hearing. The hearing found that the practitioners' conduct did not demonstrate the knowledge, skill, judgement or care expected in the practice of nursing. This was significantly below the standard reasonably expected of practitioners' of an equivalent level of training or experience and it also raised serious questions regarding clinical reasoning ability.
Critically analyse the above case study with regards to the legal and professional issues raised.
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