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Truro nurse accused of leaving patient lying on the floor

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: June 27, 2012

Royal Cornwall Hospital

A nurse left a patient lying on a hospital ward floor for 40 minutes and said she was not paid to look after people like him, a hearing was told.

Gugu Shabalala refused to help a colleague move the man into a more comfortable position or review his condition, the Nursing and Midwifery Council heard.

Shabalala was working at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro at the time of the incident in January 2009.

Angela Barron, a health care assistant who worked alongside Shabalala on the shift in question, said she had walked into the patient's bay to find him in a "very strange position".

"He was kneeling between the bed and chair with his head resting on the chair," she said. "I asked him if he wanted to go back to bed, but he did not answer. I tried to help him up into bed but could not move him at all."

Realising it was a job for two, she went to find Shabalala, who was the nurse in charge for that part of the ward.

When they returned, she saw him roll himself on to the floor and curl up, the panel heard.

Unable to move the man, referred to only as patient B, Mrs Barron said Shabalala then asked her to fetch a blanket to cover him and a pillow for his head.

She added: "He was lying on the floor without any bedding or mattress.

"While he was lying there, Ms Shabalala's only comment was 'he obviously wants to be on the floor'.

"I'm not sure how long he remained on the floor, but at about 12pm I went back in to find him back in bed."

She said she could not recall the exact time of the alleged incident, only that it definitely took place after 9.30am.

Shabalala is not attending the proceedings and is not represented.

She has made no formal admissions to any of the charges, although sent a letter to the NMC in which she claims she was not responsible for patient B on January 29.

But Mrs Barron said as far as she was concerned, Shabalala was the nurse in charge.

Shabalala also claims it was a particularly busy shift.

Shabalala also faces allegations of attempting to catheterise another patient, Patient A, on January 14, 2009, when it was not in her best interests.

In addition, she failed to stop when the patient indicated she was in pain, the NMC claims.

After the alleged incident involving patient B, Shabalala is said to have told a colleague: "I am not paid to look after people like patient B", or words to that effect.

If found guilty of misconduct, Shabalala could be struck off the nursing register.

The hearing continues.

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