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Nurse struck off after man dies drinking washing-up liquid

Credit: ITV News Cymru Wales

A nurse has been struck off after a patient died from drinking a bottle of washing up liquid at a care home.

Lorraine Stevens, 61, didn't raise the alarm when the man drank from the bottle - but instead made him drink several glasses of water to dilute it.

The patient was vomiting and frothing at the mouth, but Stevens waited nearly three hours to tell anyone else that he was unwell.

And when she did finally speak to her manager Stevens failed to mention how long he had been ill for, the misconduct hearing was told.

The disabled man - referred to only as Patient A - died the next morning.

Patient A reached through an open kitchen window and grabbed a bottle of washing up liquid, from which he drank an unknown quantity.

The washing up liquid was promptly taken away from him and it is alleged that he was given glasses of water to drink.

About 15 minutes after the incident, Patient A allegedly began coughing, vomiting and there was some foam at his mouth.

He was given more water and continued to cough and vomit for 30 to 40 minutes.

– Case presenter Gregory Wedge
Lorraine Stevens was struck off the nurses register. Credit: Wales News Service

Case presenter Gregory Wedge said Stevens was the only qualified nurse at Begelly Bungalow in Begelly, Pembrokeshire, which housed four people with learning disabilities.

Patient A, who had been at the managed bungalow for just four months before his death, suffered brain damage at birth and had a history of trying to drink dangerous liquids.

The man collapsed at the bungalow around 8pm, some ten hours after consuming the liquid, and died in hospital early the following morning in July 2013.

The Nurses and Midwifery Council also was told Stevens later mocked up risk assessment form for Patient A on the day his family came to collect his belongings.

The form said kitchen cupboards should be locked at the bungalow - but she didn't point out it was written after his death.

Mr Wedge said Stevens had acted "dishonestly".

Dyfed Powys Police investigated Stevens in connection with the man's death, but no charges were ever brought to her or employers Hywel Dda University Health Board.

Panel chair Monica French told the hearing in Cardiff that Stevens' actions "increased the risk of harm" to her patient.

Stevens, from Pembroke Dock, was struck off the nurses register, and will not be able to reapply for five years.