Patient cried out at ‘rough’ treatment

The Thomas Linacre outpatients' centre
The Thomas Linacre outpatients' centre
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A WIGAN hospital patient struggled and cried out for help as a nurse “roughly” cleared out his bowels, a hearing was told.

Karen Meadow allegedly performed a manual evacuation without asking the constipated man’s permission.

She is then accused of holding a dish containing the stool in front of his face, later claiming she “had to do it to make him feel better.”

The man, referred to only as patient A, was left traumatised by the episode and did not want to be treated by other nurses afterwards, a Nursing and Midwifery Council hearing was told.

Chris Geering, for the NMC, said: “He clearly suffered considerable physical discomfort, he cried out and struggled, and asked the registrant to stop. The effect of the procedure on him left him petrified and unwilling to receive care in future from other nursing staff.

“Showing him the faeces was not to comfort him, but as a justification for her behaviour.”

Meadow is accused of carrying out the procedure on December 27, 2009, during the night shift at the Thomas Linacre Outpatients’ Centre in Parsons Walk, Wigan.

Care assistant Linda Marsh told the hearing Meadow did not ask Patient A for permission before the procedure, which is rarely carried out, and did not use lubrication to ease discomfort.

“Mrs Marsh demonstrated a clear knowledge of the appropriate steps that should be taken,” said Mr Geering. That simply did not happen on the night shift in question. The consequence was she was so disturbed by what she witnessed, and the registrant’s behaviour towards Patient A, that she felt compelled to report the incident.”

Janice Picken, the centre manager, who investigated the incident, said manual evacuations are only carried out after repeated attempts to tackle constipation with medication have failed.

She said the procedure requires specific training, which Meadow did not have, and 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,” Mrs Picken said.

Meadow, when quizzed by Mrs Picken, is said to have refused to apologise - and suggested she might do the same thing again.

“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,” she said.

“She sort of lifted her eyes and said ‘not in this trust, but maybe in another.’”

The investigation found no other medication to ease constipation had been recorded on Patient A’s notes for that day, and the manual evacuation was not documented properly.

Meadow was sacked from the Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the centre, following an internal inquiry.

She has not attended the central London hearing, but documents from the original investigation show she claimed to have gained permission from Patient A, and denied behaving unprofessionally towards him.

If found guilty of misconduct, Meadow could be struck off the nursing register.