Nurse struck off after rough handling of dying man in hospice


A NURSE has been struck off after roughly handling one hospice patient and showing disrespect to another.

Nancy Smith grabbed the legs of a dying elderly man and insisted on wearing a paper towel on her face instead of a proper mask while treating a terminally-ill woman.

Mrs Smith’s shocking conduct resulted in her transfer to a separate hospital ward for elderly patients.

Nancy Smith (pink top) outside her NMC hearing in Edinburgh

But she continued to behave appallingly, telling a 98-year-old blind woman: “It’s big lumps like you that give us a sore back.”

The disturbing revelations are contained in a report by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) following a hearing in Edinburgh last month.

She faced a total of 18 charges coming before the NMC, 13 of which were found proved.

Mrs Smith worked at a hospital-based hospice and a hospital ward for elderly patients with “complex care needs”, both in Fife.

While providing care to terminally ill patients at The Hospice in the Queen Margaret Hospital, Dunfermline, during 2014 she was also found to have roughly handled a patient who was in the last stages of his life.

The NMC report read: “You grabbed Patient B at the back of his knees, pulled his legs right over in a rough and quick manner.

A nurse told the hearing that Patient B “was distressed and in some discomfort by the way he screwed up his eyes.” The same nurse said she later apologised for her colleague’s conduct.

Nancy Smith (pink top) outside her NMC hearing in Edinburgh

In another charge found proved, Mrs Smith was found to have placed a “paper towel” over her face whilst tending to a palliative care patient with cervical cancer.

The NMC report stated that she refused to remove the paper towel despite being asked by another member of staff.

Mrs Smith claimed she did not have time to fetch a proper mask.

The NMC report reveals that in July 2015, following the hospice incidents, Mrs Smith was transferred to a ward at Glenrothes Hospital which dealt with elderly people with “complex care needs”.

The move was part of an action plan drawn up by health chiefs to provide extra support to Mrs Smith.

But Mrs Smith’s conduct continued to cause concern and in September 2015 she went on special leave. Within two days of making a “phased return”, on February 15 last year, she mistreated Patient F, a 98-year-old blind woman.

The NMW report read: “Ms 6 said that Patient F took hold of her hand and would not let go repeating that she was really sore and saying ‘she’s trying to kill me’.

“Ms 6 went on to state that you did not speak to Patient F whilst cleaning her and she was astonished to hear you say, ‘Oh its big lumps like you that give us a sore back’.”

The patient was also decribed at the hearing as “frail, immobile, blind and hard of hearing” and required full nursing care and “assistance with daily living”.

The report revealed that Mrs Smith tried unsuccessfully to deny the evidence of her colleague.

The NMC stated: “Your evidence was that you did not hear Patient F say ‘she’s trying to kill me’.

“You said that you would never make such a comment and, in any event, Patient F was ‘quite tiny’.”

The panel also heard that another patient in the same ward, known as Patient E, had asked Miss Smith for assistance, but she made “no move to help”.

Another nurse gave evidence Mrs Smith: “Instead you shouted aggressively at her ‘Oh for god sake [Patient E], can you no’ see I’m busy’.

In their written findings on the case, the NMC decided to remove Mrs Smith from the register.

Their report stated: “After having taken into account all the evidence before it, the panel has determined that your behaviour is such that it is fundamentally incompatible with you remaining on the NMC register.

“Whilst it is acknowledged that you have engaged fully throughout the NMC process, your failings represent a serious departure from the standards expected of a registered nurse and you have not satisfied the panel that such failings would not be repeated.

“The panel therefore directs that your name be removed from the NMC Register.”