A care home nurse has been struck off more than three years after she failed to attempt resuscitation on a dying patient.
Winifred Jozi decided not to administer CPR or call 999 – instead contacting the NHS Direct helpline – after a colleague at Holme House Nursing and Residential Home, in Gomersal, found 59-year-old resident Susan Burgess ‘cold and unresponsive’.
She also failed to complete any paperwork to record Mrs Burgess’ death before leaving at the end of her night shift in December 2012.
A Nursing and Midwifery Council committee suspended her for two months in November 2014 after finding her guilty of misconduct in relation to the record-keeping – but not over the failure to attempt resuscitation or ring 999.
But the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care challenged the decision at the High Court, saying the committee was not given the full picture regarding what had gone wrong in the case. And Ms Jozi faced a second NMC hearing after a judge ruled the charges levelled against her did not reflect the serious nature of the incident.
At the second hearing, where Ms Jozi was not present, she faced charges that she did not carry out a proper assessment of the patient’s condition before deciding not to attempt resuscitation and/or dialling 999; did not attempt resuscitation; did not dial 999; did not complete an incident form; and did not document the incident in the patient’s notes. The NMC panel found all the charges proved.
Ms Jozi was the only nurse on duty at the care home on December 5, 2012 when Mrs Burgess died. Mrs Burgess had been seen by a GP the day before and was being treated for a possible urinary tract infection.
One of the five care assistants working at that time checked on Mrs Burgess, who had early-onset dementia after suffering a head injury in a road accident, at about 5.45am and found her in a chair and looking ‘normal, content’. But when the staff member returned just 35 minutes later she found the grandmother ‘cold and unresponsive’ and alerted Ms Jozi.
When the nurse attended she did not attempt CPR despite the fact Mrs Burgess did not have a ‘do not resuscitate’ notice and called NHS Direct for advice, instead of ringing 999. She also failed to complete an incident form or document what had happened before leaving at the end of her shift.
Ms Jozi was suspended by the home the same day and later sacked.
Although a post-mortem examination concluded CPR was ‘unlikely’ to have saved Mrs Burgess’ life, Ms Jozi’s failure to act was strongly criticised by the coroner who conducted the inquest into the patient’s death.
The NMC panel said her “misconduct was fundamentally incompatible with her continuing to be a registered nurse”.
The panel felt there was a risk of repetition of the misconduct in the future, and was concerned that if Ms Jozi were to practise unrestricted, she would be liable to put patients at unwarranted risk of serious harm.
In its finding the panel said: “Ms Jozi’s misconduct represented a disregard for professionalism, safe nursing practice and patient care.”
Ms Jozi had been employed by the home for two and a half years before the incident. She had not been the subject of any previous NMC referrals.
The panel also imposed an interim suspension order for 18 months, which means if Ms Jozi appeals she would be suspended pending the outcome.