Nurse Saves Newborn from Wrong Diagnosis

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Initial diagnoses are prone to inaccuracy, and once the medical team is misled from the appropriate course of treatment and interventions that are supposed to be carried out, the patient could suffer fatally to the point that the harm or negligence done becomes irreversible.

Based on a report from Gazette Live, that’s what could have happened to Jayne Thompson’s four-week-old son, Joseph who was rushed to James Cook University Hospital had it not been for the vigilant and intuitive nurse whose concern abounds exceedingly towards the infant’s welfare.

Guilfoyle Family. Image via:
Guilfoyle Family. Image via:

Jayne’s instinct itself as the mother of the ailing newborn dictates that the condition was way more jeopardizing than just a reflux for he was vomiting excessively and seeming fatigued. But because she’s not a healthcare professional, her gut feeling is somewhat irrelevant to the doctors who handled the case so reluctantly that they wanted her to take him home after the first day of care in the hospital. Good thing she refused to do so because a nurse suspects that her baby could be suffering from a condition called pyloric stenosis.

The doctors dismissed the nurse’s hunch because Joseph was not displaying the main symptom which is projectile vomiting. But the nurse persistently urged the medical staff to run more tests, and Joseph was indeed found suffering from pyloric stenosis, a condition where the passage between the stomach and small bowel becomes narrower.

After the second diagnosis Joseph was transferred to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle for an operation and is now recovering at home on medication. For that, Jayne was genuinely grateful for the nurse’s diligence in caring for Joseph.

Pyloric stenosis. Image via:
Pyloric stenosis. Image via:

Jane Wiles, associate director of nursing, community care center at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust concludes that in most cases, pyloric stenosis presents at around six weeks of age with a baby bringing up small amounts of milk after feeding. Other conditions such as reflux initially may present in a similar way. Over a few days if a baby has pyloric stenosis this will become worse until the child can no longer keep any milk down. This vomiting may become so forceful that the milk may be projected for several feet out of the baby’s mouth. This is called projectile vomiting and this is often a presenting feature when a baby is admitted to hospital.

She added, “We admit babies, such as in Joseph’s case, so that they can be observed and any treatment needed initiated as quickly as possible if they should deteriorate.

“Medical and nursing staff work closely together to care for children and they work as a team to diagnose and treat children.

“Nurses will often notice a child’s condition changing as they work in closer contact with them and their families. If they have any concerns they would speak to the medical staff and a plan would be devised to treat the child.

“Clearly, the nurse has been vigilant and ensured that any concerns were passed onto medical staff as we would expect.”

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Matt Vera is a registered nurse with a bachelor of science in nursing since 2009 and is currently working as a full-time writer and editor for Nurseslabs. During his time as a student, he knows how frustrating it is to cram on difficult nursing topics and finding help online is near to impossible. His situation drove his passion for helping student nurses through the creation of content and lectures that is easy to digest. Knowing how valuable nurses are in delivering quality healthcare but limited in number, he wants to educate and inspire students in nursing. As a nurse educator since 2010, his goal in Nurseslabs is to simplify the learning process, breakdown complicated topics, help motivate learners, and look for unique ways of assisting students in mastering core nursing concepts effectively.


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