Belfast Telegraph

Drunk nurse who fell asleep forgot to medicate patient

Adrunken nurse fell asleep in a reclining chair while on duty and forgot to give a patient their medication, a hearing has been told.

Mary O'Brien (52) had to sleep off the alcohol in a spare room at Drumclay Nursing Home in Enniskillen after colleagues became concerned about her behaviour.

Fellow nurse Alice O'Brien (no relation) was so worried that she called the home manager who was forced to drive in to cover O'Brien's shift while she slept.

Giving evidence she told the Nursing and Midwifery Council that O'Brien's actions on December 21, 2009 meant one patient did not receive their medicine.

She said O'Brien also failed to notice that another's feeding tube had become disconnected, leaving the food to drip out onto the floor.

“I found her to be acting totally out of character,” she added. “She was making exaggerated hand movements, talking really loudly and complaining about the work she had to do.

“She physically put her arms around me and hugged me.

“She appeared disorientated. She appeared confused about where patients’ rooms were.

“I rang the home manager to tell her my concerns. I told her I thought she was drunk.”

Ms O'Brien later found her colleague fast asleep in a reclining chair in the lounge and had to raise her voice to wake her up.

Mary O'Brien then became abusive, calling her colleague a “deviant” when she found out she had called home manager Patricia Graham, the hearing was told.

Miss Graham told the hearing O'Brien looked surprised to see her when she turned up and was “not quite with it”.

She said when she asked her whether she had been drinking, the nurse replied: “I don't drink.”

Two days later, O'Brien called Miss Graham to apologise for her behaviour and confess she had been drinking.

By then, the home had notified the agency, which launched an investigation.

Miss Graham said prior to the night, O'Brien had been “thought very highly of” at the home.

O'Brien, who is attending the hearing in London, now admits all the allegations against her, but denies her ability to continue working has been compromised.

The hearing continues.

Belfast Telegraph

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