1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to sidebar

Network Cameras and Caring for the Vulnerable

A few weeks ago, you might have read this story about James Merrett, a 37-year old tetraplegic man dependent on a ventilator for life support. Concerned about the level of care he was receiving from nursing staff at his home in Wiltshire, he had an IP camera and recording software set up to monitor the activities of the agency nurses looking after him.

Sadly, his fears were well founded. In a moment of negligence, one of the agency nurses turned his life support off. Her initial, incorrect attempt to resuscitate him failed and a colleague had to step in to revive him. Unfortunately by this time he had already suffered serious brain damage.

Footage of the incident was captured on an IP camera and recorded. Although incidents such as this are not indicative of the healthcare system in general, when they do occur it can be invaluable to have an impartial, objective record of the events as they occurred in real-time. On this occasion, the camera and recording software provided the means to identify the nurse responsible for the incident and Mr. Merrett’s subsequent attempts to raise an alarm by clicking his tongue, the only means of alert he had available to him. It also recorded the nurse’s subsequent incorrect attempt to resuscitate Mr Merrett before a colleague took over.

In a situation where so much is at stake, having this indisputable record of what happened will prove invaluable. Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, is quoted by the Guardian as saying, ‘To think that this person was so worried that they installed a camera in their own home, but that their concerns were apparently ignored – it’s outrageous.’

Although nothing can be done to reverse what has happened to Mr. Merrett, he and his family have a full, recorded record of what happened, and this will help to ensure the right steps are taken to avoid such an incident occurring again in the future.

Published on November 16th, 2010 by Kevin Bowyer

Comments are closed.