The Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Inquest Report



Notifying the OR nurses

Youngson testified that she received a telephone call from a nurse named Cindy Davidson on the afternoon of November 26. She gave this description of the conversation:

It was kind of odd. Cindy called me and said, you know, we are doing an open heart, we need the cardiac team to come in. But she said, when Dr. Odim came to book it or phoned to book this case, I asked him if he wanted me to call you, and he said, no, that we would be able to manage.

I went, oh, really. Well, I am coming. You know, we will come. She said, well, she was kind of laughing about it, like this was the most ridiculous thing she had ever heard. Because these were two junior nurses. They have had no experience in cardiac surgery. This was like a neonate.

I am sure they didn't realize how difficult or high risk this particular baby was because they weren't experienced, but they realized that they needed a cardiac nurse. And, in fact, we called in another cardiac nurse as well. Helen Skomorowski came as well. There were two of us that went in for this particular case on a Sunday. (Evidence, pages 8,632-8,633)

Odim testified that he did not think that he ever gave the instructions referred to in Youngson's comment. He testified:

It's possible that I was asked if Ms. Youngson should be called, and I said, oh, no, that's not necessary. She's one of several cardiac nurses. So I don't think I-if I am understanding this, that I bluntly stated that I didn't want cardiac nurses present. (Evidence, pages 25,849-25,850)

In this testimony, however, Odim indicated that he did not give any special instructions to any members of the team with whom he would be working, in preparation for this operation.

These two pieces of testimony are open to numerous interpretations. The harshest is that Odim did not care if experienced cardiac nurses were present or not for a difficult operation. The most innocent is that Odim felt that, since other operating-room nurses could handle the case, it was not necessary to call Youngson in on her day off. It was, in all likelihood, an innocent, perhaps even a considerate remark. However, it is clear that the nurses did not view it in that fashion. That they did so is not a sign of poor judgment on their part as much as a clear indication of the near-complete lack of respect and trust between the members of the team. This was a legacy of the treatment that the nurses had been accorded from the beginning of February 1994 onwards. By the end of this operation, both the nurses and anaesthetists had even less inclination to give Odim the benefit of the doubt.



Current Home - Table of Contents - Chapter 8 - Notifying the OR nurses
Next Hamilton not called in
Previous Consent
Section 1 Chapter 1 - Introduction to the Issues
  Chapter 2 - Pediatric Cardiac Issues
  Chapter 3 - The Diagnosis of Pediatric Heart Defects and their Surgical Treatment
  Chapter 4 - The Health Sciences Centre
Section 2 Chapter 5 - Pediatric Cardiac Surgery in Winnipeg 1950-1993
  Chapter 6 - The Restart of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery in 1994
January 1, 1994 to May 17, 1994
  Chapter 7 - The Slowdown; May 17 to September 1994
  Chapter 8 - Events Leading to the Suspension of the Program
September 7, 1994 to December 23, 1994
  Chapter 9 - 1995 - The Aftermath of the Shutdown
January to March, 1995
Section 3 Chapter 10 - Findings and Recommendations
Appendix 1 - Glossary of terms used in this report
Appendix 2 - Parties to the Proceedings and counsel
Appendix 3 - List of witnesses and dates of testimony
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