Nurse accepts charges of professional misconduct, inquiry hears

Man with intellectual disability absconded from residential service, fitness to practice hearing told

Martin Lynch, a nurse at St Mary’s in Drumcar, Co Louth, was the subject of a Nurse and Midwifery Board of Ireland fitness to practice inquiry.

Martin Lynch, a nurse at St Mary’s in Drumcar, Co Louth, was the subject of a Nurse and Midwifery Board of Ireland fitness to practice inquiry.

 

A nurse has accepted allegations of professional misconduct in relation to an incident in which a man with an intellectual disability absconded from his residential service and masturbated in front of a child.

Martin Lynch, a nurse at St Mary’s, which is part of St John of God’s North East Services in Drumcar, Co Louth, was the subject of a Nurse and Midwifery Board of Ireland fitness to practice inquiry.

St Mary’s is a residential service which caters to adults with intellectual disabilities. It was alleged that in April 2016, a 46-year-old man with a moderate intellectual disability absconded from the campus. It was claimed that the resident, known as DD, then masturbated in view of a young girl, who could see him from her living room window.

At the time, Mr Lynch was Clinical Nurse Manager 3 and Person In Charge of Bliain Orga in St Mary’s, where DD was a resident.

Another staff member, known as Employee A, was also on duty that day.

DD was brought back to St Mary’s shortly after the incident.

Tony McGillycuddy, counsel for the Nursing and Midwifery Board, said that the incident came to the attention of St Mary’s management when a report was made to gardaí.

An anonymous letter from a member of the public was also sent to the service.

It was alleged that Mr Lynch did not follow the correct procedures in relation to reporting what happened, and Hiqa was not contacted.

Mr McGillycuddy also claimed that when questioned by his superiors, Mr Lynch said that DD was supervised.

The hearing was told Employee A filed a report stating the DD had been within eyesight of staff at all times, but it was claimed Mr Lynch knew this was not true.

Mr McGillycuddy said this became apparent through an independent investigation into the incident.

He said that during the investigation, Mr Lynch conceded that the reports of DD being supervised at all times were “not correct”.

Because of this incident, Mr Lynch was accused of poor professional performance, professional misconduct and non-compliance with the code of professional conduct for nurses.

Mr Lynch accepted the allegations, and he also spoke at the hearing. He said prior to the incident, he had to take time off work due to family problems.

The role of Person In Charge, which he started in June 2015, was also “challenging”, he said. “It was very difficult, there was peer on peer abuse... staff burnout.”

He said there was no formal training for the role at the time, and he tried to resign from the role in August 2015. He stayed on while a replacement was being found.

Mr Lynch is now a staff nurse in St Mary’s, a demotion which was recommended as a result of the independent investigation.

Two other incidents, which also took place in April 2016, were discussed at the hearing. One related to the alleged misuse of a socialisation fund to partially pay for a team building day for staff.

It was alleged Mr Lynch failed to take appropriate steps in relation to investigating the use of these funds.

The other incident related to Employee A allegedly using other staff member’s emails to nominate themselves for an all-expenses paid trip to Granada, which was on offer to St John of God’s staff.

It was alleged Mr Lynch failed to deal with this issue effectively.

Mr Lynch accepted these allegations.