Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Decision Due over Baby Abuse Case; Health Visitor Could Face Action

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Decision Due over Baby Abuse Case; Health Visitor Could Face Action

Article excerpt

Byline: Helen Rae

AHEALTH visitor is expected to find out today if she will be struck off after it was claimed she failed to raise the alarm after discovering a baby had sustained head injuries.

Judith Mercer, who worked for Northumberland Care Trust, knew the infant had suffered serious injuries but did not do anything about it, it is alleged.

She also knew the baby's sister had sustained a fractured skull two years earlier, but failed to act, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) in London was told.

The child, referred to as baby A, died when he was eight-months-old and a post-mortem identified that he had suffered a multitude of injuries during his short life.

An investigation found Mercer had recorded the baby's and his sister's injuries, but did nothing to alert her bosses at the health trust.

Mercer, who was sacked for gross misconduct after a serious case review, is now before the NMC accused of serious failings and is expected to find out her fate today.

She also allegedly neglected to raise concerns about domestic violence in another family.

Rachel Ellis, for the NMC, said: "The injuries sustained by baby A prior to his death raised concerns about how his case had been handled.

"The registrant attended a serious case review meeting and reported the baby had sustained injuries prior to his death, and also that his sibling, child B, had sustained a number of injuries over a two-year period.

"She had identified these injuries but they were not reported by the registrant to the local authorities' children's services department or the trust's safeguarding team."

Baby A - born to white, middle class parents whose identities have not been disclosed - died "unexpectedly" on July 31, 2008.

Although the coroner recorded an open verdict, during the inquest it was revealed that baby A had suffered "a number of untreated ailments" in the hours before his death, Ms Ellis said. …

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