Thursday 18 January 2018

Nurse 'taped patient's mouth shut to keep him quiet', court hears

Paddy Clancy

A nurse admitted taping a patient's mouth to keep him quiet in a long-term care hospital.

Filipino-born male nurse Bimbo Paden, a 39-year-old father of three, pleaded guilty at Sligo District Court to taping Kevin Quinn's mouth which he claimed he did because he was overworked and alone caring for several patients in a facility in the hospital.

The offence was committed at St John's Hospital, Ballytivnan, Sligo, on June 26 last year.

The court was told Mr Quinn, from the Ballymote area, was in the hospital, incapacitated and needing 24-hour care following a brain haemorrhage 13 years ago.

The court was also told that names on a Hiqa report into the incident were redacted and the family were now hearing details that they hadn't heard before.

Inspector Colm Nevin said Paden, in Ireland for 12 years - most of it nursing at St John's Hospital - placed a surgical tape over the 49-year-old’s mouth. Paden told investigators that he was tending to another patient at the time and he appeared to be agitated by Mr Quinn's continued shouting.

The nurse said he asked Mr Quinn to 'shush' and rubbed his shoulders to reassure him.

Paden then added in a statement: “I was alone and caring for five bays of patients with no-one to assist me.

“In a moment of complete stupidity I put a small piece of surgical tape on Kevin's mouth.”

He said he moved it away when another nurse came in to help him. He added that he had nursed Mr Quinn for six years.

Judge Kevin Kilrane was told there were a number of investigations, including by Hiqa and an internal hospital inquiry.

Paden had voluntarily agreed to be suspended from the registry of nurses and had been suspended from work since the incident last June.

The court heard Mr Quinn's brother, Christy, had engaged with the HSE and obtained certain documents in which names were redacted.

Judge Kilrane noted from Hiqa and other documents before him that investigators were unable to comment on the psychological impact on Mr Quinn but he was clinically well on the day of the incident and on following days.

He said Paden, with an excellent work record, “made one bad mistake in his career.”

When Christy Quinn said he found details revealed before the court “very upsetting” the judge ordered inquiry documents to be made available to the family.

He told Christy Quinn that he might understand from those that there were mitigating factors for the defence.

He adjourned the hearing to March 13 to allow the family study documents before the court would decide sentence.

Defence solicitor Mark Mullaney said the future employment of paden, who fought back tears during the hearing, was dependant on the decision of the court.

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