Wednesday 16 January 2019
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Nurse too busy having row on phone to care for dying man

A care home nurse was too busy having a foul-mouthed row with an ex-boyfriend on her mobile phone to care for a dying man, a watchdog hearing was told.

Colleagues heard Tammy Futers shouting and swearing next to the elderly man's bed.

The patient, who was in his late 70s, had become ill suddenly and was in the last few hours of his life, the Nursing and Midwifery Council heard on Thursday.

Futers was allegedly sending text messages when a care worker asked for help shaving the man, named only as Patient A, and examining his bedsores.

She refused to help, the panel heard, telling her colleague the bedsores did not "really matter".

The nurse from Arbroath is also accused of failing to fill out paperwork or give Patient A regular treatments to stop his mouth getting dry.

Futers, a learning disabilities specialist, resigned from her job with Four Seasons Health Care at Lunan House Care Home in Inverkeilor, Arbroath, after the incidents on October 8, 2007.

David Clark, for the NMC, said Futers was working a 12-hour day shift with care worker Theresa Lindsay at the time.

He said: “Ms Lindsay will tell you the registrant was sending text messages throughout the day and she also answered a call.

“It was clearly from her former partner and the offensive words were said in the presence of her colleague and, more particularly, the patient.

“The registrant said at the time she was going through a difficult break-up, she was under a lot of stress and she was very apologetic about the language she used.”

Staff at the care home were expected to keep their mobile phones switched off at all times, he added. But Futers kept texting her ex-partner when Ms Lindsay was asking for help.

At one point, the care worker was shaving Patient A and asked Futers to turn his head so she could reach the other side.

"According to Ms Lindsay, the registrant was too busy on her mobile phone," said Mr Clark.

Futers, who did not attend the hearing in London, was also accused of failing to sign documents relating to Patient A.

She admitted the charge by letter, along with allegations she used her mobile phone while on duty and used inappropriate language in front of a patient.

But she denied failing to assist Ms Lindsay, saying Patient A's bedsores did not matter and failing to stop the patient's mouth getting dry. The hearing continues.