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Premature Baby Suffers Burns: Case Study Report (Assessment)

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Updated: May 3rd, 2021

The Parties and the Facts

A case of a premature baby suffering complex injuries due to the hospital’s personnel neglect is an incident for malpractice. The matter is that a newly-born premature baby was put on the IV bags to keep her warm. However, the bags were too hot, and the baby got serious burns and even more severe complications. The parties in the case are the hospital representing the managerial nurses accused of neglect, and the infant plaintiff.

The important facts in the case are as follows. Taking into account the premature delivery, the baby was “healthy, crying and breathing on her own” (Laska, n.d., par.1). A girl had eight and eight on Apgar scale. This fact is proof that there were no critical health problems when the child was carried to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) from the delivery room. Thus, being under the complete control of the nurses of the NICU, the child got severe burns. The baby had intracranial bleeding, which caused to intraventricular hemorrhage. Later the burns became a location for bacteria development. A dangerous serratia marcescens penetrated the bloodstream and cerebral spinal fluid which resulted in meningitis (Laska, n.d.). Another important fact to consider is that despite the child was crying; nobody took care of her for fifteen minutes. The fact that the hospital acknowledged only the burns as a result of personnel neglect may be not so important.

The case lacks the information on the reasons why the premature child was neglected for so long. The stuff of NICU is usually numerous. Thus it is not clear why no one reacted to the baby crying vigorously and loudly. Besides, it is not explained why the microwave oven in a staff lounge was used to heat the IV bags instead of a specialized IV bag warmer. There is also no information explaining the fact of using IV bags in a hospital unit equipped with warming devices designed for premature newborns (Laska, n.d.). Finally, there are no references to the fact that the guilty workers were punished.

The Parties and the Facts

As for the actions of people involved, they can be explained. The plaintiff mother has the right to compensation from the hospital since the fault of the stuff is evident. The behavior of the hospital’s administration and their refusal to admit the severe consequences for child’s health were caused by burns during the initial stage of the investigation might have been conditioned by the desire to defend the employees and avoid the punishment. After all, the hospital conceded the liability of the claims. There is a chance that the administration will make conclusions and the situation will not be repeated.

The legal issue represented in the case if negligence. The term is defined as: “failure to act in a manner that an ordinary, prudent person would act in similar circumstances, resulting in harm. The failure to act in a reasonable and prudent manner is unintentional” (Cherry & Jacob, 2016, p. 120). Since there was no obvious intention to harm a baby, it is not the issue of gross negligence. If it is proved that there were two or more workers involved, it could be considered a case of comparative negligence (Cherry & Jacob, 2016).

There cannot be any arguments for the defendant in this case. The arguments against are as follows. Firstly, the personnel of NICU used IV bags which were not as safe as contemporary warming devices which were present in the unit and functioned. Secondly, the heating of IV bags in a microwave oven contradicts all acceptable hospital protocols, guidelines, and standards. Thirdly, none of the NICU workers controlled the temperature of bags before and after heating. Since there are no reliable methods to determine the temperature of the bags, they are not safe and should be not used on premature newborns. The final argument against the defendant is that a premature baby who is not able to indicate that something is wrong in a way different that crying was left not monitored for fifteen minutes. That time was enough for permanent consequences. The final argument seems most persuasive because if the nurses did not leave the baby alone, the consequences of the inappropriate warming could have been avoided.

Consequences to the Parties and the Society

The case will have consequences on both parties and the society in general. The defendant hospital will have to pay for punitive damages. The suffered baby will need years of rehabilitation and supportive therapy to live a near-normal life. As for the society, it will have less trust in the hospitals and medical stuff.

This case demands a mandatory reporting. Mandated reporters are a crucial component of the child protection system. Physicians, nurses, other health-care workers together with child care providers are legally mandated to report the cases of neglect or abuse (Mandatory reporters of child abuse and neglect, 2015). The procedure of reporting is sanctioned by law and is to be followed in case child mistreatment is suspected. The efficient functioning of the reporting system is critical. As of 2015, there were about 683,000 child victims of abuse and neglect which is 3.8 percent more than in 2011 (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2015). The category of children most vulnerable to maltreatment is the babies under one-year-old. They made 24.2% of all children as of 2015 (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2015).

References

Chery, B., & Jacob, S.R. (2016). Contemporary nursing: Issues, trends, and management. (7th ed.). St.Louis, MO: Elsevier.

Laska, L. (n.d.). (Ed.). Premature baby suffers burns from being placed on IV bags warmed in microwave to too hot a temperature. Web.

(2015). Web.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2015). Child maltreatment. Web.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Premature Baby Suffers Burns: Case Study." May 3, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/premature-baby-suffers-burns-case-study/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Premature Baby Suffers Burns: Case Study'. 3 May.

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