Nurse ‘left care home patient with bloody ear’

The Drummohr Nursing Home in Wallyford. Photograph by Ian Georgeson
The Drummohr Nursing Home in Wallyford. Photograph by Ian Georgeson
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A NURSE has been suspended over allegations that she assaulted an elderly care home resident, leaving her victim bleeding after twisting his ear.

Brigitte Catherine Coupar, who worked at Drummohr Nursing Home in Wallyford, is said to have been “rude, abusive and uncaring” towards the vulnerable patients in her care, causing them distress.

On another occasion the nurse, who registered 35 years ago, is alleged to have told another staff member to leave a patient in wet bed sheets, knowing they would not be checked for another four hours, because she “wasn’t in the mood for him”.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), which has launched an investigation into the nurse’s behaviour, has suspended Coupar for 18 months while its probe is carried out. She faces being struck off the nursing register if the allegations are proven.

Although she has not yet been hit with any charges by the NMC, Coupar, who was suspended and later sacked by home operator HC-One after an internal investigation, wrote this month: “I wish to convey my deepest apologies for any pain and distress I have caused residents, their families and the staff at Drummohr Nursing Home.”

At a hearing this month, which Coupar did not attend, a panel heard that a care assistant had discovered dry blood behind a patient’s ear. After washing the area, cuts were discovered. After changing a pillow case, “another large patch of blood” was discovered on the other side, according to the statement dated January 1, 2013. A second witness claimed to have seen Coupar “grab the patient’s left ear and twist it”.

Regarding a separate incident, another witness stated a patient’s “bed was wet at the 2 o’clock round. [Coupar] said to leave him til the 6 o’clock round cause she wasn’t in the mood for him cause she had too much to do getting the drugs delivery sorted”.

Robert Benzynie, representing the NMC, told the panel that evidence of physical abuse was “very worrying, especially when set against other matters suggesting an aggressive and uncaring attitude toward those in her care”.

It was decided that based on the information presented, “there is a real risk of harm to patients if Ms Coupar were allowed to continue to practise without restriction”.

Despite the nurse telling the panel that she was not working and did not wish to do so, an interim suspension order, which will prevent Coupar working as a registered nurse, was made.

A spokesman for the home, which is registered to provide care for up to 60 older people and received average grades in its latest inspection, said: “Nothing is more important to us than the health, safety and wellbeing of those we support.

“As soon as concerns were raised, we acted immediately to suspend the nurse, carried out a thorough internal investigation and subsequently dismissed her from our employment. We also acted swiftly to inform all relevant authorities, including the NMC, and we continue to work closely and transparently with these organisations.

“We thank staff at the home for promptly bringing their concerns to our attention.”