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    Life-support machine leaves patient brain-damaged

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    ODN

    by ODN

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    A tetraplegic man whose life-support machine was mistakenly turned off by an agency nurse has been left with severe brain damage.


    It was caught on a camera set up by Jamie Merrett, who was so worried about the care he had been receiving at home.


    The 37-year-old set the machine up in his bedroom and it captured the whole incident in January 2009.


    Days later he was left close to death after nurse Violetta Aylward, from Reading, turned off his life-support machine and struggled to resuscitate him.


    Nurse Aylward tried to resuscitate him but it took 21 minutes for the machine to be restarted by paramedics, leaving Mr Merrett with serious brain damage.


    He had been nursed at home since 2002 after a road accident left him paralysed from the neck down.


    An investigation has found the company that employed the nurse did not have adequate systems in place to check the training staff had received.


    Ambition 24hours, which supplied Nurse Aylward, said it could not comment as an internal investigation was being held.


    In a statement the NHS Wiltshire Primary Care Trust said: "NHS Wiltshire is committed to helping patients stay at home, provided that is safe. We have an established policy which sets out how we will provide care for people at home.


    "All providers of healthcare, with whom the PCT contracts, are required to meet recognised standards of care which are now regulated by the Care Quality Commission (formerly the Healthcare Commission and the Commission for Social Care Inspection)."


    The Patients Association Chief Executive Katherine Murphy said: "The Patients Association condemns this appalling lapse in care. The response every time is "lessons will be learned", but if lessons are being learned, then why do the same mistakes get made?"


    A spokeswoman for the Nursing and Midwifery Council confirmed Ms Aylward has been suspended while it investigates the incident.