Parents of Mansfield salt death baby slam Facebook rap

Sarah and Rob McIntosh pictured with a photograph of their late son Samuel
Sarah and Rob McIntosh pictured with a photograph of their late son Samuel

THE parents of a Mansfield baby killed by a fatal salt overdose have hit out at the decision to only ban one of the nurses responsible.

Samuel McIntosh suffered brain damage after nurses Louisa Swinburn and Karen Thomas gave him 10 times the prescribed dose of salt in July 2009.

Louisa Swinburn was later dismissed by Nottingham City Hospital after they discovered she had posted a picture on Facebook of herself asleep next to Samuel at his bedside.

The dismissal meant Mrs Swinburn faced a Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) hearing last week where she was found guilty of misconduct.

The six charges included administering the fatal overdose, falling asleep on duty and posting a picture on Facebook without the parents’ or hospital’s permission.

She was struck of the nursing register for a minimum of five years.

However, Sarah and Rob McIntosh, of Arches Road, Mansfield, believe Karen Thomas should also have been punished for the blunder which killed their four-month-old son.

Ms Thomas was given further training by Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and allowed to continue working as a nurse.

At an inquest in 2010, coroner Dr Nigel Chapman recorded a narrative verdict saying both nurses made a dreadful mistake but ruled it wasn’t a gross failure

Sarah McIntosh thinks the publicity surrounding Mrs Swinburn’s Facebook post is what led to her taking the blame for Samuel’s death.

She said: “We are very happy that the NMC have imposed the maximum sanction and we fully welcome this action.

“However we don’t feel it has been made for the right reasons.

“Louisa Swinburn was dragged through the tribunal because she posted on Facebook and breached confidentiality - that seems to have been the biggest issue for the NMC.

“It was unprofessional but it is nowhere near the same level of seriousness as the overdose which killed our son.

“Karen Thomas was equally to blame for the overdose but didn’t post a picture on Facebook and she is still working as a nurse.

“If I was Louisa Swinburn I would be very angry that everything had been pinned on me.

“It is hard to believe that Louisa Swinburn has gone through the full hearing process and Karen Thomas hasn’t.”

Jenny Leggott, Director of Nursing and Midwifery at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “After proper investigation and process Louisa Swinburn was dismissed in August 2010 for gross misconduct, after being photographed appearing asleep on duty and posting the image herself on Facebook in June 2009.

“After a full investigation we are confident that Nurse Thomas is fit to practice as a neonatal nurse in our hospitals. She has met rigorous standards set by our Trust and the Nursing and Midwifery Council since she returned to work.”