Care home nurse death cover-up

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A senior care home nurse who failed to check on a dying resident, then faked records to show she had served him cake and juice, may be struck off.

Paula Fuller also failed to perform CPR on the man or call an ambulance while working at the Bupa-run Acacia Lodge Nursing home in Irthlingborough.

She told the man’s wife he had died peacefully in his chair, but her colleague had found him lying on the floor when he been dead for up to four hours, on August 23, 2009. Fuller asked co-worker Diane Rosario to help her fake records to show she had brought the man juice, sandwiches and cake during the day, when she had not. Fuller also ordered Ms Rosario and two other care assistants to ‘stick to the same story’.

She had denied the allegations and claimed she checked the patient minutes before he was found and that he had been alive at the time.

But a Nursing and Midwifery Council panel found the allegations against her proved. Its chairman James Crowe said: “What is most serious is the attempt to conceal what actually happened.”

The panel heard the man suffered from Parkinson’s Disease and used a wheelchair.

Mary Freeman, a former colleague of Fuller, said she found him lying on the floor. She said: “He’d been dead for three or four hours judging by his colour. Rigor mortis had set in and I didn’t believe that she [Fuller] had been in to check on him that afternoon.”

Gabriel Beeby, representing Fuller, said she was not impaired as the error was a one-off, and took place when she was “inexperienced, and overburdened”.

Mr Beeby said she had since received further training, and had dealt with another sudden death at the care home where she currently works without any issue.

Bupa regional director for Midlands and Wales Jan Street said: “Paula Fuller was suspended from duty when the allegations against her were made. A full investigation was immediately launched, and the appropriate referrals were made. She was dismissed in September 2009.”

The panel will now consider if Fuller is impaired to work as a nurse. If they find she is, she could be struck off the register.

The hearing continues.