Woman died after Greenfield home medication blunder


Staff reporter (Leader Live)

AN 89-YEAR-OLD woman died two days after being given the wrong medication, a tribunal has heard.

Hazel Gillan Stears could be struck off the nursing register following the mistake at Morfa Newydd Nursing Home in Greenfield, near Holywell, in October 2011.

Ms Stears was employed as a staff nurse at the home at the time when pensioner Gwen Cartlidge – but known as Resident A during the proceedings – was given tablets meant for an elderly man.

A Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) hearing in Cardiff was told yesterday it was not known exactly how the mix-up occurred or whether it had been caused by staff or indeed by another patient.

However, a panel heard Ms Stears had “failed to act appropriately” when the error was discovered.

Case presenter Victoria Hale said there were three allegations against Ms Stears: the registrant had not told the pensioner’s next of kin; she did not write the medication mix-up in the patient’s care notes; and she did not ensure advice was taken from a doctor.

Referring to the NMC’s code of conduct, she said: “Registrants must provide a high standard of care at all times... and complete records as soon as possible after an event has occurred.

“The registrant was the nurse in charge of the upstairs patients at the home which is where Resident A – a vulnerable lady – resided.

“If anything, the registrant should have been extra vigilant.”

Ms Stears was not present at the hearing. However, the panel was told the three charges “had been admitted”.

With the facts of the case not in dispute, an independent panel will decide whether misconduct has been proven and what punishment to impose.

Ms Hale insisted misconduct had been proven because the registrant’s actions risked eroding “public confidence in the profession”.

She also said records-keeping and liaising with GPs were “fundamental principles” nurses had to adhere to.

“Ms Stears has decided not to attend the hearing and she has done nothing to suggest any remediation on these matters,” Ms Hales added. The three-person panel is expected to reach a verdict today.

Sanctions available at its disposal include striking Ms Stears off the nursing register, banning her from working as a registered nurse for a set period of time or ordering her to carry out extra training.

Outside of the hearing Mrs Cartlidge’s son, Terry, broke his three-year silence about his mother’s death. 

Speaking to the Leader, he said he still had not visited her grave since she died as he has been overwhelmed with guilt. 

Mr Cartlidge, 68, said he never wanted to put his mother into a home but he had felt pressured into doing so. 

The father-of-three, who has lived in the family home in Tan y Bryn, Greenfield, since the age of 11, spoke of his pain during the past couple of years. 

“It has been really hard for me,” he said. 

“I promised my mum I would never put her in a home.” 

See full story in the Leader

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