Nurse accused of leaving seriously ill babies in dirty nappies

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A nurse accused of leaving seriously ill babies in dirty nappies and covered in vomit at an East Lancashire hospital, will face a fitness to practice hearing.

Philippa Clare Ralph was said to have failed to provide adequate care to a baby and inserted a gastric tube when the baby’s stomach was full at the Royal Blackburn Hospital.

The grade-five staff nurse was also said to have failed to ensure that there was an oxygen mask on another baby’s face which then turned blue while she was working on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Ralph faces seven allegations at the Nursing and Midwifery Council hearing this week and if proved it could see her struck off the register or have conditions imposed on any future practice.

The allegations relate to incidents with five babies over a period between March and June 2008 at the unit, which deals with cases from across East Lancashire.

The NMC was told that one incident, involving a child referred to only as “Baby E”, allegedly saw Ralph take the infant off a nasal airways tube but fail to ensure it was swapped for an oxygen mask.

This was said to have resulted in the baby becoming “cyanosed” – a medical term for turning blue through lack of oxygen.

It is alleged Ralph attempted to weigh a baby still wrapped in blankets and needed prompting to wrap the baby up when the temperature was low in July or July 2008.

Over the same period she was said it have administered medication around nine hours after it was due and had also informed staff that a baby was being given one litre of oxygen when it was being given 0.1 litre.

The other allegations relate to incidents where Ralph was said to have left babies either in wet or dirty nappies, vomit-stained baby clothes, not cleaning the infants properly, or leaving them in soiled sheets.

The hearing is due to conclude on Friday.

Ralph is no longer employed by the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust.