Tragic South Yorkshire baby’s nurses ‘not trained to use monitors’

Summer Hawcroft, a 2 month old baby who died at Barnsley Hospital last year.
Summer Hawcroft, a 2 month old baby who died at Barnsley Hospital last year.

NURSES treating a premature baby who suffered fatal brain damage had special equipment which could have spotted her problems earlier - but it lay unused as they had not been shown how to handle it, an inquest heard.

Tiny Summer Hawcroft was on a ventilator in Barnsley Hospital’s special care baby unit when the tube which helped her breathe became dislodged.

She went into cardiac arrest and was revived but lack of oxygen caused devastating brain damage, leading to her death at 49 days old in Sheffield’s Jessop Wing in June 2011.

Sister Zoe Whittaker, the senior nurse on the baby unit, told Sheffield Coroner’s Court the hospital had purchased Pedi-Cap devices, which monitor carbon dioxide levels.

“It shows the tube is in and changes colour with the carbon dioxide coming out of the tube,” Sister Whittaker said.

“Not many people were aware they were there and we hadn’t had any training on them. There are limitations in extreme pre-term babies, but I think it would still have shown if the tube was at the correct position.”

She said Summer deteriorated at 5am on May 4, and her stomach was swollen with air from the tube.

Sister Whittaker said staff told paediatric consultant Dr Vishwanath Kamoji ‘several times’ that the tube needed replacing, but he disagreed.

“He just didn’t seem to be listening,” she added.

A second consultant was sought and the tube was replaced.

Summer was born prematurely at 27 weeks, and was the seventh child of builder Stephen Hawcroft, 37, and his wife Michaela, 26, of Kendray.

The inquest continues.