Nurse won't be struck off for taping patient's mouth
A NURSE who admitted putting surgical tape across a patient's mouth has been given the Probation Act.
Bimbo Paden (39) will also be allowed to stay on the Register of Nurses after Judge Kevin Kilrane said that he did not pose any risk to patients.
The judge found that the nurse was overworked in stressful conditions and said: "He does not pose any risk to patients in the future. To strike him from the register would be disproportionate."
The judge was severely critical of the conditions under which Paden worked at St John's long-term care hospital in Sligo, where Kevin Quinn (49) from Ballymote, Co Sligo, was a patient for 13 years after a brain haemorrhage.
At an earlier hearing Paden, who started working at St John's shortly after arriving in Ireland from the Philippines 12 years ago, admitted assaulting Mr Quinn on June 26 last year.
The court heard that a HSE internal investigation found Paden worked under serious stress and never complained.
The judge, delivering sentence yesterday after considering reports, said Paden was caring for nine patients, most of whom were in the high-dependancy category.
Paden was tending to another patient suffering from terminal illness and who was irritated by noise being made by Mr Quinn. The nurse placed a tape over Mr Quinn's mouth.
The judge said: "There was severe under-staffing in the unit. He carried a disproportionate workload."
There was no evidence that Mr Quinn was harmed physically or otherwise by the assault. The judge noted that Paden was unable to contact Mr Quinn's family to express his remorse, but he asked the HSE to pass it on.
"It is very unfortunate the HSE did not communicate that remorse," the judge said. "That is very disappointing."
He noted Paden's excellent work record and carried out his duties with diligence. He speculated that because Paden didn't complain he was lumbered with an unfair workload.
The judge said the assault was an appalling incident but it was a one-off and was totally out of character. He found the facts proved but was dismissing the charge under the Probation Act.
Paden wiped tears from his face as he turned to leave the court.
Mr Quinn's family said they were not commenting on the case, for now, on legal advice.
The patient's brother, Christy, had told an earlier hearing: "It was total abuse of a patient and Kevin is very vulnerable. He is totally incapacitated and can't fight back."