Nurse failed to respect dignity of patient, 83

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A care home nurse with an unblemished career was found to have force-fed a patient at Chilton Croft nursing home in Sudbury.

Lilly Mathai faced five misconduct allegations at a Nursing and Midwifery Council hearing in London last week.

The panel found only one allegation – of force-feeding an 83-year-old patient at Chilton Croft on or around March 2103 on one or more occasions – was proved.

Four other allegations, including a second charge of force-feeding another patient and failing to disclose she was under investigation when she worked at Melford Court nursing home in Long Melford, were found not proved.

The council concluded that her fitness to practise was not impaired, saying she had learnt from her mistake and it was a “single incident” in an otherwise unblemished 24-year career.

Mrs Mathai denied all charges, and told the panel that the evidence against her “had been fabricated”. She currently works at Colchester Hospital.

The council was told that the Chilton Croft patient was not fit enough to attend the hearing, but a relative did and said she remained angry after the incident.

In a statement, the 83-year-old said: “I do not recall Lilly saying anything to me as she forced the spoon into my mouth.”

In a report on the outcome of the five-day hearing, the council said: “The panel was mindful that, even though this was an isolated incident, it did consider it to be serious.

“You did not treat the resident as an individual and failed to respect her dignity, which is a fundamental belief of the nursing profession.

“It took into account the harmful impact your act had, and that it was not until a year following the incident that this resident felt comfortable to return to the lounge at Chilton Court.”

The council said it had taken into account a number of positive testimonials from Mrs Mathai’s current employer and colleagues, in coming to its decision.