Winchester care home manager banned from nursing after resident chokes to death

St Cross Grange

St Cross Grange

First published in Winchester
Last updated
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AN unrepentant Hampshire care home manager likened to Adolf Hitler by colleagues has been thrown out of nursing for allowing an elderly patient to choke to death.

Anne Taylor failed to call an ambulance for the ailing Ella Davidson, 94, at St Cross Grange in Winchester in 2009 despite hospital being just five minutes away, then quipped: “She'll be dead before they get here anyway”.

Taylor, the only first aider at the care home, did not bother to start resuscitation and was overheard telling a colleague ‘I think I'm in trouble now’ after Ms Davidson was pronounced dead.

A Nursing and Midwifery Council misconduct hearing found Taylor had shown no remorse for her actions, and would put patients at risk again if allowed to work as a nurse.

Chairman Paul Morris said: “Mrs Taylor's failings were of a serious nature and her misconduct was at the high end of the spectrum.

“Calling emergency services, summoning medical help, and attempting to give life-saving care to a patient are reasonable expectations of a registered nurse. She failed in her duty of care towards the patient.”

Care assistant Veronica Westcott told the NMC of Taylor's tyrannical reign. Ms Westcott said: “She was looked upon as a bit of a Hitler by everyone in the home because she wanted everything to be her own way.”

In a statement, Greensleeves Homes Trust said it deeply regretted the distressing circumstances of the death. After an internal inquiry Taylor was sacked.

“The company was not aware at the time that Resident A (Ms Davidson) died that there was anything untoward about the circumstances. We had been told by Mrs Taylor, the home manager and a trained nurse, that the elderly lady had died after choking on some fruit and there would be a post-mortem. We followed this up with the deputy manager, in Mrs Taylor’s absence, on two occasions, and were told the post-mortem was still awaited.

“It was only when we were contacted by the social services department under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults procedure that we heard no ambulance had been called at the time.

"Investigations were launched into the incident both by the Safeguarding Board and the police. We suspended Mrs Taylor on that day.

“Following the conclusion of police inquiries and the decision that no one was to be charged with an offence, we carried out our own internal investigation, including a disciplinary inquiry, and Mrs Taylor was dismissed.

“We have reminded senior staff at all our homes that it is vital to call an ambulance in the case of sudden or unexpected collapse of a resident.  Even when a resident is believed to have died, an ambulance should be called as even an experienced and trained person must not take responsibility for confirming a death. This is to protect the resident’s family and the company and its staff. After the incident our procedures were reported as being `clear and comprehensive’ by Hampshire County Council’s professional lead for nursing.

“Our investigation found that our policy on this matter was both understood and being followed in all our homes, so that this incident was a single lapse in our agreed processes. We are confident that the requirement to call an ambulance in a case such as this is instinctive with all our managers and senior staff.

“We have also established a culture of trust throughout our homes so that staff at all levels feel able to report their concerns to management, and we have reinforced this message in the light of this sad incident. Families entrusting their loved ones to us must be confident that we follow the strictest possible guidelines in looking after them, and in following correct procedures should they sadly die.”

Greensleeves did not answer a question as to how Taylor managed to get into such a senior position.

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