Nurse slammed by coroner after refusing to do CPR

Susan Burgess with her granddaughter Mia.
Susan Burgess with her granddaughter Mia.

A nurse who refused to attempt resuscitation on a patient has been slammed by a coroner.

An inquest heard that instead of carrying out CPR on 59-year-old Susan Burgess, nurse Winifred Jozi called the non-emergency NHS Direct number and was told someone would call back within two hours.

Mrs Burgess, who was living at Holme House care home in Gomersal, was last seen alive in her chair at 5.45am on December 5, 2012.

But half an hour later she had no pulse and was not breathing. Mrs Jozi, the only nurse on duty, was summoned but refused to attempt CPR because it was ‘not beneficial’ the Huddersfield inquest was told.

However other staff, who disagreed, dialled 999 and were told by the emergency operator to try resuscitation until the ambulance arrived.

Mrs Burgess, who had dementia brought on by a head injury sustained in a road accident in 1977, was pronounced dead an hour later. A post mortem examination found she died from blood clots in her lungs and pneumonia.

Coroner Oliver Longstaff criticised the nurse saying: “It seems Mrs Jozi didn’t look for a pulse. She took the proverbial ‘one look’ at her and decided she was dead.

“I simply don’t understand how Nurse Jozi in her professional capacity could accept a callback in two hours as an appropriate response to an unexpected death.”

However he said Mrs Burgess – who was originally from Earlsheaton in Dewsbury – was unlikely to have survived and praised other staff for their actions.

Mrs Burgess’s daughter, Julie Marsden, saidshe was appalled at Mrs Jozi’s actions.

“She was a nurse and meant to care for my mum,” she said. “My mum was a care assistant and was the most loving, caring person you could ask for. I’m upset she didn’t get the same treatment herself when she needed it.”

A spokesperson for Croft Care, which runs Holme House, said: “The management of the home found the registered nurse did not follow the protocols that the home had in place.

“The home reported this to Kirklees Council Safeguarding Team and the police and the company carried out a full investigation into her actions culminating in her being dismissed from her post and her actions being reported to the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

“The due diligence of the other staff who did follow the protocol that was in place ensured a professional response to the poor practice of the nurse in charge.

“The manager of the home worked closely with the family at the time of the incident and the company offers its deepest sympathy at the loss of their loved one.”