Sunday 19 November 2017

'The nurse got a scissors and hit me on the chest . . . she was stone mad'

Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

AN INCIDENT in which a staff nurse was found to have threatened a patient with a pair of scissors ended up being reported to An Bord Altranais.

The nurse at the centre of the incident resigned shortly after the allegations were made by a resident.

An HSE investigation heard differing accounts of the incident, which happened at Rochestown Nursing Home in Rochestown, Co Cork, in May last year -- but ultimately it upheld the complaint.

The resident said they went to the nurse's station and asked for a dressing to be removed. According to the resident, the nurse said: "Do you think I'm going to look after you all day?"

The resident admitted throwing a can of air freshener at the wall above the nurse's head, leading to an altercation.

"I could not believe the way she reacted," the resident said. "She pulled at my shirt and tore it. I felt she was stone mad.

"She got a scissors and hit me on the chest area. I thought she was going for my eyes and she grabbed me on the arm and the thigh."

Care assistants on duty at the time confirmed that there had been an incident. They said the resident had earlier been served tea by the nurse but had thrown the tray into the hall and come down the corridor, calling the nurse names.

Another staff member said she heard screaming directed at the nurse.

This person said the nurse reacted by "throwing a scissors" at the resident "not once, but a few times".

The nurse also picked up a dining room chair, but put it down again. The scissors were eventually taken off the nurse.


A minor cut was found on the resident's chest. There was also some bruising on the chest and upper thigh and a scratch and bruising on the left arm.

The nursing home's accident book recorded that gardai were called "for the protection of the staff". The resident ended up making a statement to gardai.

A doctor who visited the resident two days after the incident noted "aggressive behaviour, verbal and physical abuse and refusal to take medication". He recommended the patient be seen by a psychiatrist.

The HSE investigation recommended staff complete a self-defence course on how to restrain patients without injuring them. A report was forwarded to the Nursing Board.

The owner of the nursing home declined to comment when contacted by the Irish Independent.

An Bord Altranais said it was not in a position to say whether it had taken any action or made any findings in connection with the incident.

Irish Independent

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