Nurse guilty of poisoning baby awaits hearing over benefit fraud

A NURSE who poisoned her best friend’s baby out of jealousy is facing a disciplinary hearing for the second time in five years.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 14th April 2012, 1:00 pm

Veronica Duncan, who was suspended from nursing in 2009 after injecting the four-month-old with dangerous levels of insulin, will face the tribunal after being convicted of benefit fraud last year.

Duncan, who had previously lost her one-year-old daughter, revealed to police in 2007 that she was so “jealous and envious” of her friend’s healthy daughter that she injected the baby’s stomach with the diabetes drug. She was working at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary at the time.

The intensive care nurse from Tranent, East Lothian, will now face a conduct and competence hearing at the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) after being found guilty of committing housing benefit fraud last February.

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The 46-year-old was sentenced to 100 hours of community service for the crime, in which she wrongly claimed nearly £9000 in housing benefit for Edinburgh flats.

She is due to appear at the NMC on Monday after it claimed that her “fitness to practice” was impaired. The High Court in Edinburgh in October 2007 heard that Duncan attacked the baby after being left alone with her.

The nurse had an attempted murder charge dropped and pleaded guilty to assault after maliciously injecting the baby with dangerous levels of the drug.

She had offered to dress the girl while the mum, also a nurse, got changed. The nurse then took the opportunity to repeatedly inject the baby in the stomach with insulin which she had carried in her bag on purpose.

The two women then had lunch together and, in the afternoon, the mum took her son to a swimming lesson with her baby girl.

The mum noticed the baby was not waking up, and she was rushed to Borders General Hospital.

Doctors immediately thought she had a virus and battled to save the girl’s life.

Meanwhile, Duncan sat in the waiting room of the hospital and failed to tell anyone what she had done.

After a search of Duncan’s house, she finally admitted to police that she intentionally overdosed the baby and said that she was overwhelmed with jealousy and envy at her friend’s healthy child, having lost her own baby just months previously.

Duncan’s daughter, Anna, died at the family home in Cardrona, in the Borders, in May 2006 from an infection after catching chickenpox. As well as her year-long suspension from nursing, Duncan was given three years’ probation with strict conditions, underwent psychiatric treatment and was banned from unsupervised contact with children under the age of seven.

Last year, the baby girl’s mum blasted the NMC for suspending Duncan rather than striking her off.

She said at the time: “I suspect the only reason they suspended her from practice was because she was on probation and couldn’t be allowed to work as a nurse.”