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UK: Nurse who threw pills at 'dirty' patients suspended

Last updated on: May 31, 2012 17:14 IST

An Indian-origin nurse, who was so wary of germs and infection from patients that she often threw tablets into the mouths of patients from a distance, was on Thursday suspended for 12 months.

Sarita Mittal, 46, lobbed pills into patients' mouths as if she was playing darts because they were "dirty," a hearing of the Nursing and Midwifery Council was told.

Mittal worked at the Poplars Nursing Home in Smethwick, Birmingham.

The Council, which suspended her for 12 months in a ruling issued on Thursday, was told during the hearing that some of the patients were left spluttering on their medication and care assistants had to stop them choking.

Residents at the home suffered from a range of conditions, including cancer, Parkinson's disease and motor neuron disease.

The chair of the Council's panel hearing the case, Sheila Hewitt, said, "On many occasions, sometimes with vulnerable patients, Ms Mittal administered medication by throwing it with her hand into the mouths of patients, saying that she was doing so because her fear of germs from the patients."

She added, "Ms Mittal would ask residents to open their mouths, standing at a distance of two-and-a-half to three feet away from them, and when they did this, she would throw the medication into their mouths."

She said the panel was satisfied that the witnesses had given reliable and truthful accounts of what they saw.

Mittal now denies the allegations, but the panel noted that she did not do so during the internal disciplinary hearing in 2007.

The NMC was also told that Mittal set up a makeshift bed behind reception, and sometimes slept for more than half of her ten-hour night shift.

She was once caught sleeping on the job when manager Gillian Williams visited the home at 4 am.

Prasun Sonwalkar
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