Nurse is struck off

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A WIGAN nurse who cleared out a struggling patient’s bowels so roughly that he cried out has been struck off.

Karen Meadow performed the manual evacuation without lubrication and when the constipated patient begged her to stop, the nurse dismissed his cries saying “oh be quiet, we’ve had enough.”

She then told the man she “had to do it to make him feel better” as she held a dish containing the stool in front of his face, a Nursing and Midwifery Council misconduct hearing was told.

Polly Clarke, who chaired the hearing, said: “Ms Meadow’s actions constituted misconduct of a serious nature. Patients have the right to be consulted about different treatment options, to be made aware of the possible benefits and risks so that they can be part of the decision-making processes in their care and ultimately patients have the right to refuse treatment.

“Ms Meadow did not allow Patient A this opportunity and continued to perform a manual evacuation even when Patient A displayed distress and asked Ms Meadow to stop. By doing this Ms Meadow hurt Patient A, caused Patient A harm and distress and disregarded his dignity.”

Meadow was sacked from Wigan Infirmary after the incident which happened at the hospital (not the Thomas Linacre Centre, as claimed in a previous report) at around 6am on December 27, 2009.

She had given Patient A drugs to try to solve his constipation the previous night but they had not worked, so she resorted to the manual evacuation which the NMC said had left the man “petrified and unwilling to receive care in future from other nurses.”

Meadow did not attend the hearing but tried to explain her behaviour in a letter to the NMC.

She wrote: “I was also feeling tired and my stress levels were increasing I was becoming less patient in my manner.”

But the panel found her guilty of misconduct and struck her off the nursing register. She is barred from working as a nurse for at least five years, after which time she can apply to be reinstated.

Ms Clarke said: “Ms Meadow behaved unprofessionally by shouting at Patient A and holding faeces on a pad up to his face. Patient A was a highly vulnerable elderly and ill patient who was in some distress and in pain. Ms Meadow allowed her own personal stresses to impact on her nursing care of Patient A.”

Janice Picken, a manager at Thomas Linacre Outpatients Centre in Parsons Walk, who conducted the investigation, said the procedure could lead to internal bleeding and damage to the bowel if not done properly.

“It is an extremely invasive procedure, and shouldn’t have been undertaken. There was no remorse, and one thing I asked was under the circumstances of learning what she had learnt, would she ever consider doing this again.”

Ms Clarke said: “There is evidence which demonstrates that Ms Meadow was merely concerned with her own circumstances.

“The panel has no information to suggest that Ms Meadow has insight into her conduct or recognises the harm and potential harm that such conduct can cause patients and the reputation of the profession.”