UK

Ebola nurse accused of hiding Pauline Cafferkey's temperature

Nurse Donna Wood Image copyright PA
Image caption Donna Wood faces misconduct charges before a panel at the Nursing and Midwifery Council

A nurse could be struck off over claims she hid Ebola survivor Pauline Cafferkey's high temperature on their return to the UK from Sierra Leone.

Donna Wood is accused of recording an inaccurate temperature for Ms Cafferkey after they landed at Heathrow in 2014.

Ms Wood faces misconduct charges before an independent panel at the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

Her lawyer said it had been a "confusing situation" at the airport and evidence against her was flawed.

At a hearing in September, Scottish nurse Ms Cafferkey was herself cleared of misconduct over the recording of an incorrect temperature when the panel ruled her judgement had been impaired by her illness.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Pauline Cafferkey was flown to London for treatment at the Royal Free Hospital after contracting Ebola

The panel on Monday heard that Ms Wood, who was among the first volunteers to leave the UK to spend Christmas treating Ebola, wrote down a temperature of 37.2C for Ms Cafferkey, even though her temperature had been taken twice by a doctor, Hannah Ryan, with readings of 38.2C and 38.3C.

A temperature above 37.5C should have led to further assessment in the screening room.

"I took her temperature in her left ear - it was 38.2C," a statement by Dr Ryan said. "I stood there in shock, it was like I was paralysed."

The NMC's Aja Hall claimed that Ms Wood had said the readings could be "artificial" since Ms Cafferkey had said she felt warm on the plane.

Ms Hall said: "Donna Wood broke the inertia by saying, 'I'm just going to write it down as 37.2C and then we will get out of here and sort it out.'"

But Ms Wood's lawyer, Ben Rich, suggested Dr Ryan's memory of events was "highly flawed" after she said she could not remember whether she had said Ms Cafferkey's temperature out loud to Ms Wood or had shown her the thermometer.

Mr Rich said: "I'm going to suggest this whole situation was a confusing situation and that your memories have become confused."

Dr Ryan replied: "I clearly don't have a perfect memory of these events. The details about Pauline's temperature I remember clearly."

After the temperature reading Ms Cafferkey was cleared to fly back to Scotland but was admitted to hospital a day later where she was diagnosed with Ebola.

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