Attempt to be restored to nurses' register fails

Thu, Mar 8, 2012, 00:00

A NURSE who served a jail sentence for “horrific” cruelty to her eight-year-old daughter, including holding the child under scalding showers, has lost her High Court bid to have her name restored to the register of nurses.

Mr Justice George Birmingham said the gravity of the abuse by the nurse, who cannot be identified, made it inevitable that her name would be erased from the register, even though this would cause her hardship.

Describing her abuse of her child as horrific and prolonged, the judge said: “The very notion of a nurse who has a history of having engaged in sustained cruelty caring for patients is one that shocks.”

The woman, who qualified in Asia in 1988 and worked in a Northern Ireland hospital, had argued she had paid a heavy penalty, including jail, loss of her job and questions over her immigration status and that of her husband.

In opposing her bid to be restored to the register, the nursing regulatory body An Bord Altranais argued she posed a threat to patient safety.

She was given an 18-month jail term in 2010 for abuse of her daughter. The child had severe burn marks after having scalding water poured over her and being held under a scalding shower, the judge noted in his judgment.

She and her three younger brothers had been taken into care.

The woman was charged with cruelty, pleaded guilty in the Circuit Court in June 2010 and served 13 months of an 18-month sentence. After her release, An Bord Altranais decided, after a hearing, that her name should be erased from the register.

In her appeal against the decision, it was argued that the court could allow her to remain on the register subject to conditions such as requiring her to attend her local mental health service for a year to monitor risk of relapse, as was suggested in a psychiatrist’s report.

Mr Justice Birmingham said the report did not assist the woman in her case and that may have been the reason it was not put before the Bord Altranais hearing. It outlined a view both parents lacked empathy for their daughter’s suffering, the judge said.

The psychiatrist believed that should stress arise in the nurse’s life in the future, there was a risk she would revert to “displacement strategies” to cope with her anger, and vulnerable individuals could be at risk, he said.

The judge ruled there was no statutory basis for imposing conditions on her registration.