Vigilance is the essence of nursing

  • Nelouise Geyer Public Services International


A child with pneumonia was accidentally strangled with his infusion line in his oxygen tent. The charge nurse was completing the handover report for the night shift at the time of the incident, when the infant’s parents alerted her and went to the room of the baby. The baby was resuscitated, but suffered brain damage and died shortly thereafter. The registered nurse in charge of the ward at the time of the incident and the nursing auxiliary who left the room just before the parents discovered the line around the baby’s neck gave evidence at the inquest which followed. Before the incident, the nursing auxiliary was busy in the room in which the baby lay, making the bed of another patient who had been discharged. The light of the room was switched off, and only the light from the corridor shone into the room. The nursing auxiliary reported that she had observed the baby through the closed oxygen tent while passing by the cot. The baby moved his hand and the nurse assumed that he was fine.

Author Biography

Nelouise Geyer, Public Services International
HIV & AIDS Coordinator, Southern Africa Public Services International
Case Studies