Care worker tells court plastic bag was used to divert attention of patient

A care worker accused of placing a plastic bag over the head of an elderly patient has told a court he held it in front of her face in a game of peekaboo.

Giving evidence at Liverpool Crown Court on Thursday, Santosh Bhatta, 32, denied putting the bag over the head of 79-year-old Olinda Mansfield at Broadgreen Hospital last July.

The court has heard two of Bhatta’s colleagues saw Miss Mansfield with a plastic bag over her head while she was with Bhatta in the room on the hospital’s complex elderly care unit.

Bhatta (pictured), who is originally from Nepal, told the court he was on a 14-hour shift as a healthcare assistant on July 22 and had been looking after Miss Mansfield.

He said: “She was a really lovely lady but sometimes she got challenging behaviour and she got some agitated behaviour as well, maybe because of her medical condition.”

He said on the day in question she had been asking him to go outside, but it was not safe for him to take her out without another member of staff.

He said he had been colouring in with her as she sat on her bed to try and distract her from wanting to go outside, but she decided she did not want to colour any more.

Bhatta told the court he picked up the plastic wrapping which had been used to hold fresh linen.

“I put it in front of my face and said ‘Olinda, peekaboo’,” he said.

He told the court he then put the plastic in front of Miss Mansfield’s face before his colleague, healthcare assistant Claire Rodgers, shouted his name and asked what he was doing.

Nick Cockrell, defending, asked: “Was it ever over Olinda’s head?”

Bhatta said: “Not over her head, in front of her face.”

Responding to a suggestion by Claire Jones, prosecuting, that it was unusual to play peekaboo with a clear bag, Bhatta said: “I just wanted to make her mind divert.”

The court has heard Miss Mansfield had respiratory problems as a result of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and may have had learning disabilities.

Bhatta said he had moved to Liverpool from London in 2015 for his wife to study for a PhD at Liverpool John Moores University.

The father-of-one, who moved to England in 2009, said he had worked at Nando’s before taking a job at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital and then starting at Broadgreen in April 2017.

Bhatta, of Lindale Close, Moreton, Wirral, denies ill treatment of another by a care worker.

Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2019, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Peter Byrne / PA Wire.