LONDON (Oct. 26) -- A shocking video captures the moment that an undertrained home health care
nurse mistakenly turns off her quadriplegic patient's life-support machine. That disastrous action, and a succession of further medical blunders, caused 37-year-old Jamie Merrett to go without air for 21 minutes, leaving the Englishman severely brain damaged.
In 2008, though, he started to become increasingly concerned over serious errors made by nurses operating his ventilator, his sister Karren Reynolds told the BBC
. He sent off several e-mails to local health
bosses, and -- after his concerns weren't acted on -- asked for a camera to be installed in his bedroom so he could record any accidents.
The grainy footage has caused outrage in the U.K. and left many Britons worried about the quality of care they might receive at the hands of the thousands of private-agency nurses hired each year by the National Health Service (NHS).
Aylward has since been suspended and placed under investigation by the nursing watchdog. Aylward will not face a criminal prosecution, The Telegraph reported today
, as she did not intentionally set out to harm her patient.
The agency that employed Aylward, Ambition 24hours, told the BBC
that it couldn't comment on the case while an internal investigation was ongoing. However, a report into the accident by local social services -- which was leaked to the British broadcaster -- concluded that the company was fully aware it had been required to supply a nurse with training in the use of a ventilator, but that it didn't have adequate systems to check its employees' skill levels.
And the British Patients Association has criticized the NHS for failing to institute its own safety checks and follow up on Merrett's e-mails. "The NHS has been warned repeatedly about ensuring the staff it hires, agency or otherwise, are suitably trained to look after their patients, and we have campaigned for many years for an NHS that listen to its patients' concerns," Katherine Murphy, the organization's chief executive, said in a statement
. "To think that this person was so worried that they installed a camera in their own home, but that their concerns were apparently ignored [is] outrageous."