Former Hinchingbrooke nurse suspended for ‘potentially fatal’ mistake that put cancer patient’s life at risk

14:59 10 March 2014

Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Huntingdon.

Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Huntingdon.


A former Hinchingbrooke Hospital nurse put a cancer patient’s life at risk by failing to make some basic checks, a conduct hearing was told.

Sanmatie Hardial was working in Laurel Ward, which specialises in gastro-intestinal care, in July 2011, when she was put in charge of patient A, a cancer patient receiving palliative care.

The conduct and competence hearing at the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) was told that Mrs Hardial, a bank nurse who helped during staff shortages, failed to check the patient’s feeding tube was in the right position before beginning his feed, failed to record any observations, and failed to check and renew his medication.

During Mrs Hardial’s shift, patient A was vomiting, coughing and retching.

A nurse on the next shift noticed something was “very wrong” and ordered X-rays which showed the tube had moved into his lung.

Shruti Sharma, acting on behalf of NMC, said “The consequences off Mrs Hardial’s omissions were grave and led to patient A, a severely ill patient, having feed delivered to his lung.”

She said it was deemed a “never event” – one that should not happen and could potentially have been fatal.

Ms Sharma added: “Mrs Hardial should have known which checks needed to be undertaken.”

In April 2012, three months after Mrs Hardial was dismissed by Hinchingbrooke, she wrote a letter to the NMC stating: “Firstly, I would like to inform you that I don’t feel responsible.

“All I did was start the feed which was running well and I finished my duty. I am just an easy target.”

While the panel did not attribute Mrs Hardial with the incorrect position of the tube, it stressed she had a duty to check. It also found she failed to check the patient’s medication.

Mrs Hardial’s fitness to practise was deemed to be impaired and she was suspended for six months.

Pete Childerley, interim director of nursing, midwifery and quality at Hinchingbrooke Health Care NHS Trust, said: “We are aware of this incident which occurred when the hospital was experiencing a number of clinical standards failings. We are sorry to those involved in this incident and express our sincere apologies.

“Since this took place, we’ve partnered with Circle to transform the way we deliver care.

“We have invested in improving patients’ safety, have learned from our mistakes and have made progress towards making Hinchingbrooke one of the safest hospitals in the country.”

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