Nurse struck senile patient with slipper, tribunal told
A NURSE in St James's Hospital was sacked after she "forcefully" struck a "vulnerable" patient suffering from dementia on the head with a slipper, a tribunal heard.
Dorcas Sasore (59) from Balbriggan in Co Dublin, had been working for the largest hospital in the country for 10 years when, on New Year's Day in 2012, she struck an "aggressive" 72-year-old man with another patient's slipper, the tribunal was told.
The victim, referred to as 'Patient A', had been admitted to the hospital on six previous occasions, and was described as having "certain issues" which caused medical staff "difficulties when dealing with him".
On the day in question, Ms Sasore was responsible for the care of four patients, one of whom was the victim of the alleged assault.
Carolyn O'Reilly, a senior staff nurse in charge of the unit, told the tribunal she witnessed the attack, which allegedly happened outside a 32-bed acute medical unit staffed by six general staff nurses and two care assistants.
She told the tribunal that she saw Ms Sasore strike the elderly patient on the head as they stood in the corridor outside the ward.
"I went up to the patient to see if he was okay and he was standing in front of me with his hands on his head, saying: 'She hit me, she hit me'."
"It was so unusual; I had never seen a patient struck by a nurse and it's just not acceptable in my profession," she told an Employment Appeals Tribunal in Dublin.
"It was nothing I'd ever seen before and I was quite upset by the whole incident. It's something I never want to see again."
The man was "a very vulnerable patient", she said.
"He's a small gentleman with challenging behaviour and suffered from dementia. He'd get confused and was aggressive at times."
When Ms Sasore was informed that the incident had been reported to senior management she "just nodded her head", Ms O'Reilly said.
She said the patient was then taken into his room and medically assessed by a junior doctor, who determined he had not suffered any injury.
Ms Sasore – who "categorically denies" the claim of assault – was held in "good standing" prior to the incident, the tribunal heard.
The married mother-of-four also claimed she was assaulted by Patient A when she bent down to pick up slippers from the floor.
Ms Sasore, who is seeking compensation, insisted she had lifted up the slippers to defend herself, but did not strike the patient.
The tribunal heard Patient A had assaulted a nurse the day before the alleged incident, and had a history of attacking staff members.
The unfair dismissal hearing was adjourned until June.