Nurse told breathless patient: ‘Who do you think you are, asking for a nebuliser?’


The nurse was struck off after the hearing at Clarendon House

By Hannah Ewan


A NURSE has been struck off after she told a colleague comforting a cancer patient that she was “far too caring, I don’t have time for patients like that”.

Evelyn McGarvey also became irritated by a breathless patient, telling her “Who do you think you are, asking for a nebuliser?”

A Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) fitness to practice hearing found her guilty of nine charges of misconduct while she worked at Glasgow’s Stobhill Hospital during one shift in May 2008.

She had denied all the charges.

But staff nurse Carolyn Barr described McGarvey’s attitude to one patient who was prescribed a nebuliser four times a day to relieve the symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease during this week’s hearing.

Miss Barr said the patient was struggling to breathe, and asked McGarvey to give the woman a nebuliser.

But McGarvey replied: “She looks fine to me. She can just f**king wait for her nebuliser,” said Miss Barr.

She then said to the woman: “Who do you think you are, asking for a nebuliser?”

Miss Barr said she only became aware of McGarvey’s conduct when the patient apologised to her.

The patient said she hoped the staff nurse was not in trouble as a result of her requesting breathing apparatus, said Miss Barr.

During another incident Miss Barr was administering a morphine-based painkiller to a breast cancer patient crying with severe pain.

McGarvey “stood by the side of her bed, tapping her foot and exhaling loudly”, council officials heard.

Miss Barr said that while they were still in earshot of the patient, McGarvey said she was “far too caring, I don’t have time for patients like that”.

A charge claiming McGarvey did not administer blood products to an ill patient in a timely manner was found not proved by council officials.

But she was found guilty of failing to contact the staff nurse when a patient, who had earlier suffered from heavy bleeding, suffered further problems.

Miss Barr said she had asked McGarvey to contact her if there were any issues with the patient concerned.

But when she returned from a break the patient was suffering from acute bleeding and being attended to by numerous doctors, including a surgeon.

When Miss Barr asked McGarvey what happened, she replied: “I don’t know, I’m too stressed for this. The doctor asked me to do something but I don’t know what to do so I’m not doing it.”

Jane McCreadie, senior bank manager for NHS Glasgow and Clyde told the hearing she had held an informal meeting with McGarvey when Miss Barr first made her complaints.

“She was distressed, she was crying. She said she felt that she was being blamed for something that she hadn’t done,” she said.

“Having read Miss Barr’s statement, I felt an investigation was necessary.”

Tom Hoskins, case presenter at the hearing, defended the decision to hold the hearing in McGarvey’s absence. He said: “I would submit that the registrant has wilfully absented herself, that she has buried her head in the sand about these proceedings.”

McGarvey claimed in correspondence with the committee that Miss Barr was fabricating and embellishing her evidence, and that she had added new details to her testimony between two statements made in 2008 and 2010.