WORRIED mother Ann Bourke is holding a round-the-clock vigil at her sick baby's bedside because she doesn't trust protesting nurses to call her if anything goes wrong.
Ms Bourke lashed out at the work-to-rule protest yesterday after she claimed nurses refused to retrieve urgent files on her gravely ill eight-week-old son John Joe.
"John Joe was losing blood almost every hour and these nurses couldn't even be bothered to get results from tests carried out on him," she said.
"I have to stay here at all hours because I don't feel confident they'll contact me if something serious happens to my baby," she told the Irish Independent. Baby John Joe, who is in his fourth week in hospital, is suffering from the extremely contagious Campylobactar virus, which has left him in need of 24-hour medical supervision and in an isolation ward.
He was diagnosed yesterday with a second rotavirus (an infection which usually infects infants) after a doctor at the Midlands Regional Hospital in Mullingar moved to retrieve his blood test results.
Doctors believe John Joe contracted the virus from his older sister who fell into an open septic tank five weeks ago.
Ms Bourke is at little John Joe's bedside at all times, popping home only for minutes to check on her five older children.
She said she is sickened by the nurses' action and claims her son has been neglected in hospital.
"I don't know the ins and outs of the dispute, but I do know my son's life has been put at risk because some nurse decided not to help him," she said.
John Joe was admitted to Mullingar hospital on Sunday, just 12 hours after he was released from Cavan General hospital where he had been treated for three weeks.
Despite the eight-week-old going completely limp and pale when he was admitted on Sunday, protesting nurses refused to retrieve files from his previous stay at Cavan.
It eventually took a call from a doctor at Mullingar for John Joe's results to be retrieved yesterday morning.
"He's been fighting this disease for half of his little life now," said Ms Bourke.
"He can't be lifted out of his cot, it's too much effort for him to be picked up so he has to remain lying down," she said.
"My baby is entitled to be looked after properly and to get the best care available," said Ms Bourke. "I will never again regard nurses with the same respect that I used to."
Officials from the Irish Nurses Organisation, the Midlands Regional and the HSE refused to comment on John Joe's case yesterday.