FINDING: The coroner found the nurses caring for Joshua Plumb the night he died at Ipswich Hospital should not be disciplined.
FINDING: The coroner found the nurses caring for Joshua Plumb the night he died at Ipswich Hospital should not be disciplined. Contributed

Grieving mum slams decision of coroner

AN IPSWICH mother has condemned a coroner's decision to not discipline two nurses who failed to check her son for more than 90 minutes the night he died at Ipswich Hospital.

Miranda Plumb said it was "not acceptable" the nurses who failed to check on her seven-year-old son Joshua, who suffered from cerebral palsy, escaped sanction.

Deputy State Coroner Christine Clements concluded observations of Joshua were performed "critically late".

But she ruled because of a communication breakdown from senior medical staff the pair should not be disciplined.

Joshua was admitted to Ipswich Hospital on December 15, 2010, after Ms Plumb thought he was experiencing a bout of colitis.

Paediatric registrar Dr Alexander Athanassiadis admitted Joshua without recommending one-on-one care.

She conceded in retrospect, patients with Joshua's needs should have increased care.

Joshua was under the care of registered nurses Anitha Bharathan and Bettina Gonzales, who watched over 10 patients in the Sunshine Ward that night.

Ms Clements said after checking Joshua at 9.30pm, the nurses agreed they would again check him at 10pm - which never eventuated.

Joshua was found by Ms Gonzales at 11.10pm in an unresponsive state, repositioning him and seeking help before pressing the emergency buzzer.

Ms Plumb said she was not satisfied with the inquest, with the nurse's statements not taken until July this year, and re-enactment video filmed two weeks before the hearing. "It was disgraceful. My son was the last priority in the hospital that night," she said.

"No disciplinary action against the nurses? For me I don't think it's acceptable. Running out and not pushing the emergency buzzer, that's a big thing."

West Moreton Hospital and Health Service chief executive Lesley Dwyer said over the past 18 months Ipswich Hospital has implemented many changes to improve care for dependency paediatric patients.



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