Sean Turner Bristol hospital death: Nurse admits mistakes

Sean Turner
Image caption Sean Turner, four, was re-admitted to intensive care after suffering a cardiac arrest

A nurse caring for a four-year-old boy recovering from heart surgery has admitted making mistakes in his care, an inquest has heard.

Diane Barlow was caring for Sean Turner when he suffered a cardiac arrest at Bristol Children's Hospital.

Sean, from Warminster in Wiltshire, died in March 2012 from a brain haemorrhage - six weeks after he underwent corrective heart surgery.

His parents say they begged doctors and nurses on the ward to help.

Giving evidence at Avon Coroner's Court, Mrs Barlow said she had made a mistake when changing Sean's chest drains.

She said she had not created an underwater seal, but insisted she noticed it immediately and quickly rectified it.

She then failed to make a note of the error in Sean's patient records.

'Should have recorded'

She said her mistake in the changing the fluid drains could have led to a condition which could have caused part or all of a lung to collapse.

But a chest X-ray showed that had not happened in Sean's case.

"I think in the stress of the day I didn't put it down on the nursing notes," she told the hearing.

"I think I had alerted my nurse in charge, the outreach nurse and the medical staff."

She added that she "should have recorded it and didn't".

Mrs Barlow said her role as a cardiac nurse specialist also included non-clinical work and she worked one shift a month on Ward 32 caring for sick children.

She said that because of Sean's parents' concerns and after observing his deterioration she asked for him to be examined by other nurses and doctors.

Mrs Barlow said Sean had a swollen leg, was pale in colour, had a restless night and had also vomited.

'Two nurses needed'

The hearing was told Sean suffered the cardiac arrest shortly after his femoral line, which was inserted in his groin, was removed by a nurse.

The boy's parents, Steve and Yolande Turner, maintain that Mrs Barlow removed the femoral line on her own while Sean was being cradled in his father's arms.

Hospital protocols say the procedure should be carried out by two nurses while the patient is lying horizontal.

But Mrs Barlow rejected Mr and Mrs Turner's evidence and said she assisted as the nurse in charge of the ward, Sue Conner, removed Sean's femoral line.

Also present, she said, was outreach nurse John Daly, and Dr Guido Pieles, a cardiac registrar.

When asked if she was mistaken about her recollection, Mrs Barlow she said Sean was lying on the bed being comforted by his father.

"My recollection is that Sue Conner removed the femoral line and I assisted her and dad was comforting Sean and John Daly went to get a dressing from the dressing room," she said.

Adam Korn, the barrister representing the Turner family, asked if it was possible she was mistaken.

Mrs Barlow shrugged her shoulders in reply.

Sue Conner, the nurse in charge, said she could not remember whether she was present when the femoral line was removed from Sean.

The inquest continues.

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