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Rohan Rhodes inquest: nurse 'did not check' humidifier

Rohan Rhodes died after being transferred to St Michaels hospital, Bristol, for heart surgery. Photo: Metro

A nurse at the inquest into the death of a premature baby in hospital has admitted that she did not think about whether to check a piece of medical kit which could have kept him warm in the hours before his death.

Surja Thomas, a neo-natal nurse at St Michael's Hospital in Bristol, was giving evidence on day two of the inquest into the death of Rohan Rhodes, a five week old baby from Wales.

Rohan's parents believe the decision to remove the tiny baby from a ventilator commenced a downward spiral in his health, culminating in his death in September 2012.

Ms Thomas, who was on duty at St. Michael's on the day the decision was made to take Rohan off ventilation, was asked about the baby's condition that afternoon. She said she was "concerned" about his slowing heart rate and low oxygen saturations, and that the decision was made to reintubate him at 7 o'clock that evening.

Rohan's Mother Bronwyn had told the court yesterday that the humidifier on the ventilator had not been turned on, leaving Rohan to breathe in cold gases. Asked by Coroner Maria E. Voisin whether she had thought to check the humidifier was switched on, Ms Thomas replied 'no.'

The inquest also heard from Timothy Rogers, a consultant paediatric surgeon who was asked to operate on Rohan to treat a perforated intestine on the morning that he died. The baby was never stable enough for surgery.

Mr Rogers said that in his opinion, Rohan, had been in "a state of cardio-vascular collapse" from 11 o'clock the previous night, making it impossible to perform the operation

The inquest, at Avon Coroner's Court, continues and is expected to conclude tomorrow.

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