Nun who told patient to 'Just die, die, die' while working at Jarrow care home faces being struck off

A Nigerian nun who told a patient to 'just die, die, die' while working as a nurse at a Jarrow care home faces being kicked out of the profession.
Roseway House, Jarrow. Picture from Google ImagesRoseway House, Jarrow. Picture from Google Images
Roseway House, Jarrow. Picture from Google Images

Mary Olimma, 70, made a series of cruel comments while employed at Roseway House, a home for elderly dementia patients.

She told a female resident: "Why don't you just die.? Nobody wants you here," the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) heard.

She then told the woman: 'Just die. Die, die, die'.

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During the same day, October 18, 2014, Olimma barked at the patient: "Why don't you take the medication, you stupid woman?"

The hearing was told Olimma was rough with patients and acted aggressively towards them.

She told a resident: "You are just too lazy. You eat too much and that's why your blood sugar is abnormal."

Olimma also told a patient: "You perspire too much, you stink of urine and faeces."

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Healthcare assistant Louise Brennan told the hearing she had been concerned with the way Olimma treated her patients.

She said Olimma was aggressive while washing a resident on August 25, 2013.

Ms Brennan said: "Resident B had dementia, and couldn't communicate with staff.

"We took her nightdress off to change her, for which you needed to be patient with her, but Mary had no patience with Resident B when changing her.

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"She had a horrible look, as if she did not care about the resident.

"She washed them roughly, almost shoving them with her hands."

Ms Brennan said the nurse was rude about Resident B's hygiene when she said: "You perspire too much", "You stink of urine and faeces", "You smell too much."

Giving evidence Olimma denied the abuse, insisting the allegations were just 'fabrications' on the part of three colleagues who gave evidence against her.

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The NMC panel found a catalogue of charges against her found proved and is expected to rule on the nun's fate later today.

Monwara Shah, for the NMC, said: "I would respectfully submit that all charges that have been found proved amount to misconduct.

"The registrant's actions fell seriously short of the standards required on two specific occasions. She demonstrated a lack of care and compassion towards patients in her care.

"The public would expect nurses to demonstrate care and compassion and to be able to trust those to take care of those in their care.

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"Members of the public would be shocked at the registrant's actions. It is completely shocking and inappropriate behaviour.

"'Ms Shah asked that the panel 'send a message that this sort of behaviour is unacceptable' in their decision.

Andreas O'Shea, defending, said: "It is accepted that to say to a patient 'Just too lazy. You eat too much and that's why your blood sugar is abnormal' is misconduct.

"It is accepted that the whole incident of the 18 October 2014 and the words that were said on that occasion amount to misconduct.

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"This case involves a nurse who has been working for some 30 years and on two individual days has passed what is acceptable in terms of her professional code.

"Two individual, isolated days in a 30-year career and she is now 70 years old. Those are particular circumstances which I invite the panel to have firmly in mind.

"She has no intention of practising as a nurse within the UK. If she is called upon by her congregation to act as a nurse at the congregation's home in Nigeria, she will answer that call.

"She will not be qualified to do that is these proceedings ended up in significant restrictions, including the possibility of de-registration.

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"Nurses, like everybody, are human being. They are capable of making mistakes, acting inappropriately or speaking inappropriately.

"It is not the moment you do something slightly inappropriate that you are in breach of the code. There's certain levels of seriousness that needs to be considered.

"So far as washing Resident B, how that is viewed is very much a question of perception, the intention on the part of the registrant and degree.

"I would submit that it has not been proved that the manner in which Resident B was washed, while it was excessive, was not misconduct for your purposes.

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"In terms of saying “you go do medication upstairs”, first of all, as you have seen in evidence, there may be cultural differences between the registrant and other staff members, which means that an appropriate manner of speaking for her is not necessarily appropriate for others.

"While the way she spoke, objectively speaking, was inappropriate, again it is not necessarily misconduct as such.

"She gave instructions in a way that was unacceptable in our context, but not necessarily a breach of the code, perhaps an excess that needed to be reviewed.

"In one sense, these acts of misconduct created a situation of temporary impairment on those particular days. It doesn't follow as a matter of course that the registrant is today impaired in her function as a nurse.

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"This is someone who is at the end of her career, literally.

"There's the length of the shifts. The fact that these were 12-hour shifts on each of those two occasions. She had worked four nights in a row and that day was the last of those four nights.

"You have heard that if she is stationed at the home in Nigeria she will not be doing 12-hour shifts. So far as the length of the shifts, that particular aspect of stress will be effectively removed.

"How is it that someone who has been working 30 years and then snapped on two days can be stopped from nursing?

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"When one looks at the question “is this remediable?” the answer has to be yes.'

Olimma was found guilty of telling a resident they ate too much, telling another resident they stank of urine and faeces, use force when washing a resident, telling her to do medication upstairs and grabbing her by the arm and saying to a resident 'Why don't you take the medication you stupid woman', 'Why don't you just die. Nobody wants you here' and 'Just die. Die, die, die'.

She was cleared of inappropriately pushing a resident's knees when changing his pad and poking a colleague.

The panel has retired to consider whether Olimma's fitness to practice is impaired by reason of misconduct before ruling on sanction.