THE FURIOUS mother of a baby boy found at Stafford Hospital with a dummy taped to his mouth has spoken of her anger over the incident - for which she says the trust has still not apologised.
Sarah Fellows’ son Mason had been readmitted to intensive care with breathing problems when the incident occurred, but Miss Fellows said the first she heard of it was when she was contacted by a senior nurse two days after he was discharged.
“‘I couldn’t believe what I was hearing when she explained what had gone on,” she said.
Mason and twin brother Reece were born 11 weeks prematurely at Walsall Hospital on September 3 after a series of complications and spent time at the neo-natal unit of Birmingham’s City Hospital, with Reece discharged mid- November and Mason remaining there until December 1.
The twins were admitted to Stafford Hospital for the first time with bronchiolitis - which causes an inflammation of the lungs - a few weeks later but were discharged on December 22.
Mason was readmitted on New Year’s Day and it was during that visit a senior nurse discovered the dummy attached to his face with surgical tape. Miss Fellows, a trainee nurse from Cannock, said: “I’m so angry. Mason has a weak respiratory system because he was born premature and he could have suffocated.”
The Trust claims it has apologised for what happened to Mason but the first I heard of them saying sorry was when it was flashed up on Sky News.
“They still haven’t apologised to me and the way they have dealt with it has added to the upset,” she said. “I felt I had to go to the media because I didn’t feel the incident was being thoroughly investigated and I wanted to make sure this didn’t happen to anyone else’s child.”
Speaking through a publicist, she said she felt since the story had appeared in the press the police and Trust seemed to have stepped up their investigation.
“It’s important they get to the bottom of why a qualified nurse thought it was okay to tape a dummy to a baby’s mouth,” said Miss Fellows. “It’s clear the hospital has some problems and the public should be made aware when things go wrong to help prevent further incidents. I dread to think what could have happened to Mason.”
Colin Ovington, Director of Nursing and Mid- wifery at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, said: “We have a zero tolerance approach to poor patient care and we take immediate, appropriate action as soon as we know about any potential serious incidents which happen in our hospitals.
“The incident is under investigation by the police and so we are unable to give any more information at the moment,” he said. “A member of staff has been suspended pending the out- come of the police investigation and the trust’s investigation under our disciplinary policy.
“We cannot emphasise strongly enough that this incident is exceptional and apologise again to the family,” he said.
Mr Ovington said the trust was proud that staff felt able to report incidents of this nature and said the Trust would continue to encourage staff to do so, even before they had been fully investigated, despite any negative attention it might create.
A spokesman for Staffordshire Police said: “Officers from our Protecting Vulnerable People Department are at the very early stages of investi- gating a complaint concerning the treatment of a baby boy by a member of staff at Stafford Hospi- tal earlier this month. The baby boy, who was four months old at the time, was not harmed as a result. We are liaising closely with his family and the NHS Trust concerning the matter.”