Ebola nurse 'dishonestly concealed high temperature'

Donna Wood Image copyright Yui Mok/PA Wire
Image caption Donna Wood arrived back in the UK on the same flight as Ebola survivor Pauline Cafferkey

A nurse accused of falsifying the temperature of Ebola-infected colleague Pauline Cafferkey has been found to be dishonest in her actions.

A disciplinary panel found that Donna Wood, a senior nurse, dishonestly suggested that the temperature of Ms Cafferkey was lower than it was.

The pair were tested for the virus on their arrival at Heathrow Airport in London from Sierra Leone in 2014.

Ms Cafferkey became seriously ill with the disease the following day.

She was recently cleared herself of misconduct over claims she hid her infection, when the panel ruled that her judgement had been impaired by her illness.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council disciplinary panel will now consider whether Mrs Wood's behaviour constitutes misconduct, and whether it has made her unfit to practise as a nurse.

Mrs Wood was accused by another volunteer returning from Sierra Leone - Dr Hannah Ryan - of suggesting that Pauline Cafferkey's temperature be recorded as 37.2C, when she knew it was at least one degree higher.

Under protocols at the time, a temperature above 37.5C would have triggered an investigation into the presence of Ebola.

Dr Ryan told the hearing that Mrs Wood said, "let's put it down as 37.2 and get out of here and sort it out later".

The hearing concluded: "The panel found that you intended to conceal it from the Public Health England screening staff in order to leave the screening area earlier and deal with it later."

And it added: "The panel found that these actions would be dishonest by the ordinary and honest standards of your profession, and that you must have realised that your actions would be dishonest by those standards."


Mrs Wood, who was a senior sister at a Stoke-on-Trent hospital, had told the panel that she couldn't say whether she had or had not written a temperature for Ms Cafferkey on a screening form - but denied knowing that she had a temperature above 38 degrees, an allegation she described as "preposterous".

However the panel said it found Mrs Wood's evidence to be evasive at times, and occasionally implausible.

It said it could not work out why she could remember conversations she had with colleagues in the toilets and in the baggage reclaim area, but not in the screening area.

The panel was unable to establish who had recorded Ms Cafferkey's temperature on the screening form.

But it noted that Mrs Wood was aware at some point that Pauline Cafferkey's temperature was raised, and said: "Everyone working there (in Sierra Leone) was very aware of the need to take their temps.

"You were well aware of the significance of a raised temperature as a warning sign of Ebola. "

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