Hemel Hempstead nurse kicked 99-year-old patient

A Hertfordshire nurse who called a 99-year-old patient "evil", kicked him and told him she would spit in his face has been suspended.

Christina Gavigan, a sister, tried to drag another patient along the floor by her feet at Hemel Hempstead Hospital.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) found 21 of 25 accusations proved and suspended Ms Gavigan for 12 months.

She did not attend and was not represented at the four-day Conduct and Competence Committee hearing in London.

It heard "serious concerns" were raised during one Saturday shift at the accident and emergency department in October 2008.

Ms Gavigan, a nurse for 28 years, was the leader of the shift when a "very challenging, aggressive, uncooperative and confused" man was in the unit.

The NMC heard the man was calling out "help me" but Ms Gavigan said "just leave him" and later got up close to him and called him "evil" and a "horrible man".

'Waste of space'

He was overheard to say he would spit in her face, to which she replied she would "spit in your face".

Ms Gavigan was also seen to kick him and then say "oops, I just kicked you" and told him, when he asked for a cup of tea, that he did not deserve one.

The committee found she also called a "distressed" patient a "waste of space", shouted at her and told her to shut up.

The woman had been placed on a mattress on the floor to reduce the risk of a fall, but had tried to crawl out of the cubicle.

The NMC found it proved Ms Gavigan pushed the patient along the ground with her foot, nudged her head with her foot and tried to drag her back into the cubicle by her feet.

She also slammed a door when the woman was about one metre away and was crawling along the floor.

Another sister who queried why Ms Gavigan was shouting at the patient was then verbally abused, the committee found.

She also spoke loudly to a third patient's son about his mother's condition when the patient had not been told of the situation.

The NMC concluded a suspension for 12 months, the maximum period available, sent out a clear message that Ms Gavigan's conduct was unacceptable.

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