A nurse who messaged a colleague to sedate a stroke unit patient “to high heaven” said the comment was “banter”, a court heard.
WhatsApp messages between Catherine Hudson, 54, and Charlotte Wilmot, 48, were uncovered after a probe was launched in response to a whistle-blower highlighting events she allegedly witnessed at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
Prosecutors say the pair were involved in drugging patients for their “own amusement” and an “easy life” during work shifts.
Peter Wright KC told jurors at Preston Crown Court the message chats between Hudson, an experienced Band 5 registered nurse, and Wilmot, a Band 4 assistant practitioner, had revealed a “culture of abuse”.
When interviewed by detectives, Wilmot admitted the messages “sound awful” but were merely “black humour”.
In an exchange about an elderly male patient, Hudson wrote: “I’m going to kill bed 5 xxx.”
Wilmot replied: “Pmsl (p****** myself laughing) well tonight sedate him to high heaven lol xxx.”
Hudson said: “Already in my head to give him double !!”
Wilmot told detectives: “It’s all just literally black humour, banter.
“Never did I think she would do anything like that. That was just the kind of way we would stress relief.”
In another exchange about the same patient, Hudson messaged Wilmot: “If bed 5 starts he will b getting sedated to hell pmsfl . I’ll get u the abx (anti-biotic) xxx”.
Later, Hudson wrote: “I’ve just sedated him lol he was gearing up to start (laughing emoji) xxx”.
Wilmot said: “Pmsl (tablet emoji) praise the lord Xxx”.
Asked by police what she now thought of this conversation, Wilmot said: “…Never would I have taken it literally.
“It’s never like I thought she would do that, especially if they were not prescribed.
“It was just banter.”
Jurors heard about another message exchange involving another patient in which Hudson wrote: “What’s bed 29 been doing today pmsfl. Not a f****** lot I bet!! Seeing as I sedated her on sat and sun lol lol xxx.”
Wilmot replied: “Yeahhhh I knew it, everything you gave her has started working today!!!! made for a nice day though, it ain’t been bad lol. Xxx.”
Hudson responded: “She was driving me mad , so it was pxd (prescribed) and had to b done lol . She needed the rest xxx.”
Wilmot said: “Pmsl yep pts best interest at (heart emoji) I agree lol. Pity ya can’t do it to f****** (another patient) and her daughter Xxx.”
Wilmot told detectives: “It’s just a dark sense of humour that gets you through the job.”
“It’s just humour and replying back. I had no doubt in my mind that if she was giving them anything, that would be prescribed.
“But it was just her humour.
“I didn’t think she was going round and sedating anybody. At the time to us it was just a release.
“Basically like when people are mad and frustrated, and say all sorts of things.”
Wilmot said she took Hudson’s messages “with a pinch of salt”.
She said: “She (Hudson) has a strange sense of humour, very dark. But when it comes to patients she is a very good nurse. I have never had a problem with her.”
Wilmot said her senior colleague could “come across as quite a dominating person” but said she was not afraid of her.
One of the sedatives said to have been used was Zopiclone, which Mr Wright said was potentially life-threatening if given inappropriately.
Wilmot said she had never given, or had asked to give, unprescribed Zopiclone to a patient.
She said she could not deal with medications in her role as assistant practitioner.
Hudson, of Coriander Close, Blackpool, denies ill-treating four patients and stealing Mebeverine, a medicine.
Wilmot, of Bowland Crescent, Blackpool, denies encouraging Hudson to sedate one of those patients.
Both defendants have also pleaded not guilty to conspiring to ill-treat another patient.
The alleged ill-treatment offences are said to have taken place between February 2017 and November 2018.