Tuesday, 23 April, 2024
HomeMedico-LegalNurses who drugged patients to 'keep them quiet' found guilty

Nurses who drugged patients to 'keep them quiet' found guilty

Two British nurses who needlessly sedated and tranquilised patients, and who also stole numerous drugs from the hospital’s dispensary, will never be allowed to work in the profession again after being found guilty of ill-treating patients.

The pair will be sentenced at a later date.

The Independent reports that senior nurse Catherine Hudson (54) and an assistant practitioner, Charlotte Wilmot (48), had exchanged chilling messages joking about tranquilising patients while needlessly drugging them to “keep them quiet”.

Hudson was found to have regularly and unnecessarily sedated patients at Blackpool Victoria Hospital for her own amusement and to have an “easy” shift, while Wilmot encouraged her, with complete disregard for the consequences, the Preston Crown Court heard.

The cruel and callous deeds took place in the stroke unit at the hospital between 2017 and 2018.

The court also heard that restrictions on prescription drugs were so lax in the unit that staff would help themselves and self-medicate, or steal drugs to supply to others.

Drugs like Zopiclone, a powerful medicine used to treat insomnia, were often stolen and used to drug multiple patients, the jury heard.

Experts provided evidence that the risk of administrating non-prescribed sedatives to patients, particularly the elderly and vulnerable, could be life-threatening.

Police launched an investigation in November 2018 after a student nurse raised concerns about the treatment of patients in the stroke unit.

The whistle-blower nurse had been working with Hudson when she saw her give non-prescribed Zopiclone to a patient.

When the nurse questioned Hudson, she was told not to worry about it as the patient was not for resuscitation and would not be “opened up” if she died.

A number of staff were arrested during the investigation and their mobile devices seized.

A review of their messages revealed a significant number of exchanges describing patients and their families in the most derogatory and cruellest terms.

As inquiries continued into the ill-treatment of patients, the investigation found significant theft of medications and prescription-only drugs.

Hudson stole Omeprazole and Mebeverine, a medication for stomach cramps, and she conspired with others to steal Zopiclone, a sedative medication.

She conspired to steal other drugs with Wilmot.

Hudson and Wilmot admitted conspiring to steal, with Hudson admitting a further offence of perverting the course of justice.

Hudson was found guilty of three counts of ill-treatment and one count of conspiracy to ill-treat. Wilmot was found guilty of conspiracy to ill-treat and encouraging Hudson to sedate a patient. Both will be sentenced at a later date.


The Independent article – The messages that revealed healthcare workers were drugging patients to keep them quiet (Open access)


See more from MedicalBrief archives:


UK nurses ‘drugged patients for quiet shifts’, court hears


US nurse faces murder charge after unauthorised injection for war veteran


Killer nurse to spend life in prison for baby murders


Nurse who jabbed 8 000 patients with saline, not Pfizer, loses licence





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