Wednesday 13 December 2017

Nurse took female patient's phone number from file

Nurse Gilbert Hategekimana who works at the Mater Hospital, Dublin took the personal details of a female patient, and then contacted her through WhatsApp and Facebook. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin
Nurse Gilbert Hategekimana who works at the Mater Hospital, Dublin took the personal details of a female patient, and then contacted her through WhatsApp and Facebook. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Liz Farsaci

A male nurse who contacted a female patient on WhatsApp and Facebook was yesterday found guilty of professional misconduct.

Gilbert Hategekimana was working as an agency nurse at the Mater Hospital in Dublin on October 3, 2015, when the student teacher presented at the hospital's Emergency Department.

During the Nursing and Midwifery Board's fitness-to-practice inquiry, Mr Hategekimana admitted that he took the mobile phone number and address of the student from her patient file. He then sent her messages, rang her and sent her a friend request via Facebook.

Mr Hategekimana was also found guilty of non-compliance with the nurses' professional code of conduct. Sanctions will be determined at a later date.

The student, now a 24-year old primary school teacher, attended the Mater suffering from high blood sugar issues relating to Type 1 diabetes and came under the care of Mr Hategekimana, who was employed as an agency nurse with CPL Healthcare.

The student, referred to as Patient A, remained in hospital for several days. On October 14, 2015, she attended an appointment at the Diabetes Day Centre at the Mater, and was in the waiting room when she received a WhatsApp message from Mr Hategekimana. He texted her: "Hey. How are you?"

Patient A didn't recognise the number, but she recognised Mr Hategekimana from the profile picture.

Wanting to confirm whether it was him, she replied: "Fine. Who is this?"

Mr Hategekimana then replied: "Gilbert. Remember me in Mater Emergency? When did you go home?"

Patient A told a nurse about the messages, and then met with the patient liaison officer. On 20 October 2015, Patient A received another WhatsApp message from Mr Hategekimana, which said: "I'm so sorry from the bottom of my heart… I didn't mean to hurt you."

The same day, Patient A received a friend request from the nurse via Facebook and, a few moments later, received a call from a number she didn't recognised. A friend rang the number back and put it on speaker, and Patient A recognised the voice.

During her evidence, Patient A said she felt "very frightened" after she received the first message from him.

"I felt my privacy had been breached and violated. I never expected this to happen," she said.

Irish Independent

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