Blackpool Victoria Hospital nurses accused of drugging stroke unit patients: sentencing date set
and live on Freeview channel 276
A nurse has been found guilty of ill-treating patients on a hospital stroke unit by giving them sedatives to “keep them quiet and compliant”.
Catherine Hudson, 54, drugged two patients for an “easy life” during work shifts at Blackpool Victoria Hospital between February 2017 and November 2018.
Hudson and Wilmot, are on trial Preston Crown Court over the alleged ill-treatment of patients at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.Jurors at Preston Crown Court also convicted her of conspiring with a junior colleague, Charlotte Wilmot, 48, to administer a sedative to a third patient.Hudson was cleared of ill-treating two other patients.
Police had been called in to investigate after a whistleblowing student nurse on a work placement said Hudson suggested administering unprescribed Zopiclone, a sleeping pill, to a patient.
The student nurse was further troubled when Hudson commented: “Well she’s got a DNAR (do not attempt resuscitation) in place so she wouldn’t be opened up if she died or like if it came to any harm.”Zopiclone was potentially life-threatening if given inappropriately to acutely unwell patients, the court heard.Prosecutors said a “culture of abuse” was revealed on the unit when police examined WhatsApp phone messages between the co-defendants and other members of staff.
Judge Robert Altham, the Honorary Recorder of Preston, remanded Hudson into custody following the verdicts, which were reached after nearly 14 hours of deliberation.He said: “The sentence for Catherine Hudson plainly has to be a sentence of immediate custody.“The only question is the length.”Judge Altham granted bail to Wilmot, who was also convicted of encouraging Hudson to drug a patient, but told her the “overwhelming likelihood” was that she too would receive an immediate custodial term.
Det Ch Insp Jill Johnston, of Lancashire Police, said: “Hudson and Wilmot ill treated the very people who they were supposed to care for. This was a complete abuse of their position of trust – trust that the victims and their families had, expecting them to be looked after and made to feel safe. The reality was sadly quite the opposite.
“Hudson and Wilmot treated the patients without care or compassion, laughing when they came to harm and drugging them to keep them quiet so that they could have an easy shift.
“The risks associated with these callous acts were obvious – inappropriately sedating elderly stroke patients could lead to added health complications and even death. They were both fully aware of the risks, which makes their behaviour even harder to comprehend.
“Everyone should be safe in hospital, should receive the care they need and be treated with dignity and respect. Sadly, our enquiries uncovered the actions of a nurse who was prepared to commit systematic and calculated offending, all whilst portraying herself as a role model nurse. This could not be further from the truth.
“This has been a detailed and thorough investigation that has impacted on many patients and their families. I would like to pass on my thanks to the victims and their families, for the way that they have supported this investigation and conducted themselves throughout this trial, listening to some distressing and despicable evidence.
“I am pleased that justice has been served and that Hudson and Wilmot will never be allowed to work in the care profession again.”