- Heather Woodfield failed to seek medical assistance for patient for six hours
- Nurse thought pensioner had suffered a fit and put her to bed to ‘sleep it off’
- 61-year-old eventually realised patient needed help and called an ambulance
- Patient died at South Wales hospital due to bleeding on her skull days later
- Mrs Woodfield dismissed from nursing home and charged with misconduct
Heather Woodfield, 61, (pictured outside the Nursing and Midwifery Council tribunal in Cardiff) failed to seek medical assistance for the unconscious patient
A nurse left an epileptic pensioner unconscious for six hours after she suffered a brain haemorrhage because she thought the patient had experienced a fit and would ‘sleep it off’, a tribunal heard.
Heather Woodfield, 61, failed to seek medical assistance after the woman was found unresponsive in a wheelchair at Springbank Nursing Home in Barry, South Wales, and instead decided to put her to bed.
However, the patient’s condition failed to improve and she died in hospital four days later due to bleeding inside her skull.
Mrs Woodfield, who has been charged with professional misconduct, has now admitted she should have called an ambulance immediately instead of leaving the patient overnight.
Giving evidence to the Nursing and Midwifery Council at a conduct and competence committee in Cardiff yesterday, she said: ‘In retrospect, I should have called for a doctor or ambulance straight away. I should not have let it go so long.’
Mrs Woodfield told the hearing she began her night shift at the nursing home at 7.30pm on July 22 last year.
She said: ‘The resident was sitting outside in her wheelchair. She was one of those happy people.
‘She read the news and liked to tell me what was going on and who had gone in and out of the home.’
The nurse said she later visited the resident during her medication round at 10pm and recalled she seemed ‘her usual self’.
However, the panel heard that, about an hour later, health care assistant Lijomol George informed the nurse that she could not rouse the patient.
Mrs Woodfield said: ‘I always felt that Lijomol was very timid and shy, so I assumed she was not shouting loudly enough to wake her.
‘I went to her room, but, because of our banter, I was half expecting her to open her eyes and say “fooled you!”‘
The nurse said she checked the patient’s eyes to see if her pupils were dilated and noticed her leg twitch. She said she believed the resident had suffered an epileptic fit and decided to put her to bed so she could ‘sleep it off’.