Psych nurse loses license for putting suicidal patient in danger

April 26, 2013

A nurse who gave a suicidal patient who had tried to strangle himself a guitar and left him alone has been struck off.

Christine O'Meara was seen handing the string instrument to the man who had been placed on "suicide watch" after making two attempts to take his own life.

He had previously tried to kill himself by stangulation and driving into a brick wall before being referred to a secure mental health facility at Guild Lodge Care Home in Preston.

A panel at the Nursing and Midwifery Council in London found she had a "lack of insight" in carrying out her duties as a mental health nurse.

Manager Alison Makinson was working with O'Meara on May 7 2010 when she saw her unlock the door to the ward manager's office and allow Patient B to retrieve his guitar.

Ms Makinson told the panel she was "shocked and surprised" by the nurses actions because of frequent discussions about allowing the man to access the instrument.

A series of charges against the nurse were upheld by the panel, including delivering prescription drugs to a former patient with a history of substance abuse.

O'Meara took the weight-loss drug Simvastatin to Patient A and when challenged about her actions told senior doctors she did so "in her own time" after work.

The panel found that O'Meara's actions were "inappropriate" because she had not sought advice from senior nurses.

Panel chair Stephen Redmond said there was no alternative but to strike her off the nursing register.

He said: "The panel considers that striking off is the only sanction which will be sufficient for the protection of the public and the public interest.

"Although Ms O'Meara is a caring person who wanted to care for the patient, she failed to follow procedures and protocols which would protect him.

"The panel concluded that Ms O'Meara acted in a manner which put her patients at risk of potential harm.

"There was no evidence to suggest Ms O'Meara had full insight into and in fact remedied her failings."

A spokesman for Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust said: "The individual has not worked for the organisation since 2010.

"The allegations made were acted upon immediately and a full investigation was carried out in line with trust policy."

The disgraced nurse was cleared of another charge of failing give a relaxation CD to a patient with anxiety management issues in January 2009.

Source: Ian Mitchelmore, "Preston nurse struck off for putting patient in danger," Click Liverpool, April 24, 2013.


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