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Trial evidence

Key Points

  • A CHI+MED researcher acted as an expert witness in a trial of two nurses accused of manslaughter.
    The case concerned the use of medical devices with device logs suggesting the nurses fabricated their records.
  • It was shown that it was the device logs that were unreliable rather than the nurses' records. The case against them collapsed as a result.
  • This case showed that hospital devices and systems are sometimes too unreliable for use in evidence as police and prosecutors assumed.

Two innocent nurses might have gone to prison, but they are now free after a three year battle. They had got caught up in a complex medical device issue where the computer records of the device use were to be presented in court as evidence against them. A CHI+MED expert witness was able to show that the computer evidence was unreliable. The problems were wide-ranging including in ways that were unrelated to what the nurses had actually done. The case thus collapsed: the prosecution presented no evidence, and the jury was directed by the judge to enter a verdict of not guilty. The judge heavily criticised the amount of wasted time, and the failure of the process to help anyone, whether patients, families or nurses.

 


"This was but one device in one hospital. We wonder how many other incidents across the country are turned into unfortunate legal action. Had CHI+MED knowledge been used earlier, the problems may have been avoided in the first place. The key learning from this is that unthinking reliance on hospital computer systems can lead to inappropriate prosecutions."


Find out more at:
Two nurses are cleared of neglect after allegation against them collapses (14 October 2015) ITV News