‘Every time I close my eyes, he is with me’: a former nurse on life after a manslaughter conviction.
Isabel Amaro received a suspended sentence after a six-year-old boy died of sepsis in 2011. She describes what followed that terrible day.
Jack’s death, which occurred just 11 hours after he was admitted to the hospital, had devastating consequences for his family and sparked a legal case that lasted for a decade. The case revolved around the actions of his paediatrician, Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba, and nurse Isabel Amaro. Both had previously unblemished careers in the medical profession but were charged with manslaughter by gross negligence.
Dr Bawa-Garba and Isabel Amaro were convicted in 2015 and given two-year suspended prison sentences, while a second nurse, Theresa Taylor, was cleared of charges. The verdict created controversy and protests among doctors who believed that Dr. Bawa-Garba had been made a scapegoat for systemic failures within the National Health Service (NHS). After public support and crowdfunding, Dr. Bawa-Garba’s medical license was eventually reinstated.
However, the focus of the article is on Isabel Amaro, who was largely overlooked in the aftermath of the case. Despite her involvement in Jack’s care, Amaro received minimal support, especially when compared to Dr. Bawa-Garba. She lost her job as an agency nurse shortly after Jack’s death, while Dr. Bawa-Garba continued working at the hospital for four more years. Amaro’s journey took a different trajectory, leading to a suspended nursing license and the loss of her career. She was unable to secure legal representation during her hearing in front of the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s Conduct and Competence Committee (CCC).
Amaro’s life spiralled into depression, and she made multiple suicide attempts. She was subjected to public abuse, received death threats, and lost most of her friends. She lives alone in a one-bedroom flat, grappling with her emotional turmoil and physical health issues. Isabel Amaro shares her story, expressing her remorse for Jack’s death and her wish to ease the family’s pain. She regrets her mistakes but feels she has been unfairly treated and unsupported compared to Dr Bawa-Garba.
The article highlights the stark disparity in support and treatment between doctors and nurses in cases like this, shedding light on the challenges nurses like Amaro face when involved in medical malpractice cases. It underscores the need for equal support and fair treatment within the healthcare profession, regardless of one’s role.