Care home nurse is struck off for giving whisky to alcoholics

A CARE home nurse was sacked after giving whisky to elderly residents, including recovering alcoholics, to “quieten them down”.

One woman who thought she was being given cranberry juice spat the whisky out, and others became aggressive after taking the drinks.

Yesterday, a Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) hearing panel found 14 charges of misconduct against Susan Thompson proved, including that she gave alcohol to five residents in June 2010.

They suspended her from the register for a year.

Two residents at the BUPA-run Hill View Care Home in Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, were given alcohol despite suffering from Korsakoff’s syndrome, a brain disorder caused by alcohol abuse.

Witnesses said they had seen a half-full whisky bottle in the kitchen, and that an hour later it was empty. They also said they smelled alcohol on the breath of the residents.

The panel was also told a witness “knew Resident I and Resident D had been given alcohol due to their subsequent aggressive behaviour”.

In relation to four of the residents, Thompson ignored the effect alcohol could have had on their medication, the NMC panel found.

A charge that she told one resident, “You should be ashamed of yourself wetting the bed, a grown man like you,” was also found proved.

Charges that she lied to a colleague about the beaker containing cranberry juice and that she pushed residents were not found proved.

Thompson, a nurse for 30 years,  did not attend the hearing in Edinburgh, but the panel saw a letter she wrote to the NMC saying she was “disgusted by the lack of evidence, and wild misinterpretations posed by the accusers”.

The panel said: “Mrs Thompson’s behaviour equated to a serious and marked departure from the standards which would be expected of a registered nurse.”

A BUPA spokeswoman said: “We dismissed and referred Heather Thompson to the NMC more than two years ago when she failed to meet the high standards of care we expect.”