Nurse ill-treated a dementia patient

A nurse who used a spoon to alleviate a patient’s symptoms of constipation has been ordered to complete 200 hours community service.

Susanna Simber, of Ballykelly Road, Limavady, pleaded guilty to ill treatment of a patient on May 30, last year.

Limavady Magistrates Court heard that the injured party, who was an in-patient in a home in Limavady, suffers from dementia.

She was in distress and a care assistant in the home reported it to Simber.

The 59-year-old told the care assistant that the patient was constipated and said ‘it needs to come out.’

Simber picked up a biro but the assistant said ‘you can’t use that’.

She then got a plastic spoon and used it to alleviate the symptoms.

The court heard that throughout the patient was screaming and crying ‘no, no’.

After the complaint was made Simber was suspended from her job and an investigation was launched.

A forensic examination revealed that the patient did not suffer any injuries.

During police interview, the 59-year-old denied she had inserted anything into the patient.

Defence barrister Nicola Rountree told the court that her client came here from the Philippines to support her family.

She said Simber had ‘a very strong work ethic’ and was a well respected nurse.

The barrister said that until this incident there had been no suggestion of anything inappropriate.

Ms Rountree also told the court that Simber would be unable to work as a nurse again in the future and the ‘damage to her future prospects cannot be underestimated’.

The barrister said that Simber was remorseful and had apologised for what was ‘a very serious momentary lapse of judgement.’

Imposing the community service order, Deputy District Judge Amanda Henderson said the incident would have been distressing for the injured party and her family.

The judge added she did not accept the 59-year-old was unaware of the patient’s distress and for the safety of the public Simber would not be able to work as a nurse again.