Nurse Accidentally Cuts Off Infant's Toe

In New Mexico, a mother is angry after being informed that the nurse caring for her newborn accidentally caused permanent damage to the infant. 

Erica Hogue, the child's mother stated,  “I don’t think that should have even happened,"


When Hogue was just 29 weeks pregnant she had an emergency cesarean section at UNM hospital.  One child was delivered healthy while the other is suffering from a brain bleed. 

Hogue said, “They told us they couldn’t let him go because he got a stage-2 brain bleed,” 

The Hogue family have been informed that the infant will be required to be intubated, have a G-tube placed and have a tracheotomy.  The infant also has a hole in his heart.  Physicians have informed the family that the child may never talk, walk, hear or see, yet they remain optimistic. 

“Whatever it was, we would fight beside him,” Hogue explained. “We were going to take our son whatever way he came to us.”

“He had an IV placed in his foot, and the nurse that was taking care of him was cutting away the tape and cut off his toe,” Hogue stated. “The orthopedic surgeon came up and stitched all the way around his toe, placed him in a leg cast.”

Doctors were unable to restore the circulation in the toe, so the child lost his pinky. 
“It just makes me angry that something like this could happen,” she said.

The hospital apologized to the family and said that they would use different tape in the future. 

Hogue says that she and her husband are considering legal action.

As a healthcare professional, what do you think about this? Should the family sue?

My husband and I are both nurses and my husband has a brother who was born healthy.  His brother had a minor surgery when he was about 5-months old. During the surgery there was an anesthesia "accident" and his brother suffered from hypoxia for so long that it damaged his brain.  He is now in his 50's but has a mental capacity of a 7-8-year-old child.  

Although this incident was devastating for the family, the hospital apologized. My husband's mother is also a nurse, and she refused to sue the facility even though they took full responsibility for the accident.  

I think it's important to note that medical professionals do their best to help others while doing no harm. There are times when accidents happen, and we shouldn't be so quick to judge or sue.  Humans make mistakes and as the saying goes, "to err is human."  Nurses are human too, and we do make mistakes. There is risk with every procedure a patient undergoes, even something as minor as changing a dressing or removing an IV. 

There is a ridiculous misconception that patients have a right not to suffer pain, or inconvenience when under the care of medical professionals in a hospital.  But mistakes and accidents happen, and I'm sure this nurse has already tortured herself enough, with the stress of what she accidently did to this patient. She may also face a lawsuit and disciplinary action by the board in her state, all because of one mistake. This may be enough to end her career, and my heart goes out to any nurse who has to deal with something, so potentially career halting. 

I also have a friend who is a neurosurgeon. He operated on a patient who had a very aggressive and rare brain tumor. He saved the patient's life, but he accidentally left a tiny band in the patient's brain, which caused no damaged, but was revealed after an x-ray. The patient sued the surgeon because of this. There's something crazy about this. You save someone's life and cure them of a brain tumor that was surely going to kill them and they turn around and sue you?  

Wake up folks. Be grateful that your child is alive and although he is without a toe, it was unintentional, and sometimes these things happen. It's not an excuse to sue people and ruin their lives for the sake of padding your own pocket.  I'm not saying what happened isn't terrible, I feel awful for this poor child.  But as a nurse, I also feel terrible for this poor nurse. Just my two cents! What do you think? Comment below!