Birmingham & Black Country

Nurse struck off over pool water brain injury

Leisure Centre Image copyright Google
Image caption The incident happened at Dudley Leisure Centre in 2014

An autistic woman suffered a life-limiting brain injury after swallowing "excessive" amounts of swimming pool water while under the care of a nurse.

The 19-year-old woman, who has the mental age of a young child, was injured following a trip to Dudley Leisure Centre in 2014.

Reviewing Carole Halstead's suspension, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) found she should be struck off.

Ms Halstead continues to "strongly deny any wrongdoing".

An earlier hearing was told the woman's mother warned Ms Halstead of the need to limit her daughter's swimming session because of her habit of drinking pool water.

But, one witness claimed the session lasted 40 minutes and Ms Halstead was seen chatting to a colleague while the woman drank the pool water.

Ms Halstead disputed the time and panel accepted the session lasted at least 25 minutes.

The 19-year-old later began vomiting water and fell into a coma, requiring treatment for brain swelling at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, and is now "totally dependent on carers".

The panel said Ms Halstead, who did not attend the latest hearing, had informed it she had retired and requested to be removed from the register.

A report of the hearing said the panel felt she had not accepted the findings of the previous hearing and "displayed a significant lack of insight into the seriousness and gravity of her misconduct".

Freetime Care Services, of which Ms Halstead remains a director, confirmed she had retired as a learning disability nurse.

It said: "Carole Halstead continues to strongly deny any wrongdoing...this view is in direct contrast to the findings of the NMC so attendance at the hearing would have been futile."

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