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Nurse struck off register

By Kirsty Topping

Ketura St Louis

A NURSE who said “Do unto others as they do to you” before throwing a cup of cold water over an elderly patient has been struck off.

Ketura St Louis, 37, allegedly made the remark before soaking a patient who was in her 80s, after the patient had thrown a cup of cold tea at her, which had struck her on the elbow.

The incident was just one of a number of abuses which took place between the registered nurse and elderly residents at Avondale Care Home in Motherwell in 2008.

A hearing at the Nursing and Midwifery Council this week heard that South African born St Louis had abused three patients, who were all suffering from dementia.

Former colleagues of the nurse, who worked as healthcare assistants at the home, said that they had seen her verbally and physically abuse patients on a number of occasions.

St Louis began working as a nurse at the care home in 2004 and allegedly verbally and physically abused the three patients, who are now all deceased, between July and September 2008.

A statement from Sharron McCutcheon, a healthcare assistant at Avondale, was read which said she had witnessed St Louis throwing the cup of water and reciting the biblical words.

The nurse later admitted that she did say to the patient

“a version of the words.”

Jacki Pearce, leading the hearing, heard that St Louis allegedly approached an elderly woman, referred to as Patient A, while she was using the toilet and patted her on the stomach, asking “Are you pregnant?” and “Do you have a boyfriend?”

In statements read out to the hearing,Janetfred Stevensonand Tracy Kirk said they had helped wheelchair-bound Resident A to the toilet when St Louis had come in and started to

“taunt’ the woman.

Ms Stevenson said the woman had become very upset, telling St Louis to

“fuck off’, which both agreed was uncharacteristic of the patient, and that St Louis had continued this behaviour for a

“few minutes’ despite the woman’s distress.

Stevenson told the hearing:

“Resident A was upset by it [St Louis’ treatment]. Miss St Louis was laughing. “

It was also claimed that she had pinched the woman’s breasts while she was waiting to be served lunch, leaving marks which Ms Stevenson and Ms Kirk took to have been caused by St Louis’ actions, though the hearing found this charge to be not proved.

Witnesses also said they had seen St Louis push an elderly man back into his seat as he tried several times to stand up.

Ms Stevenson, who has worked at the care home for 12 years, said:

“She pushed him down, he tried to get up again but she pushed him again.

“She took the cushion from his chair. I believe she did this to keep him in his chair. “

She demonstrated that St Louis had apparently pushed the man down by placing one hand on his shoulder, adding:

“He went down with a thud. “

St Louis denied the allegations but admitted taking a cushion from the chair of the elderly man to prevent him getting up.

Referring to the accusation that she asked Patient A if she was pregnant, St Louis said: “It was my recollection that Resident A stated that she was pregnant.”

The abuse was revealed after an anonymous tip off was received via the company’s newly installed

“whistleblower hotline.”

While the tipster did not name Miss St Louis, upon questioning around 30 of the 75 staff care home manager Janice McCrae discovered that the allegations referred to St Louis.

The NMC found all charges against St Louis to be proved, with the exception of the allegation of nipping Patient A’s chest and the admitted charge of removing Patient B’s seat cushion.

They decided to strike Miss St Louis from the register as they were

“concerned by the registrants’ denial of the majority of the events, her apparent lack of remorse, and lack of insight into her failings.”

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