A senior hospital nurse who taped a sign saying ‘Feed Me’ to a frail patient on April Fool’s Day was today branded “a disgrace to his profession”.
Glen Davidson, 39, wrote the “despicable” note during a night shift and fixed it to a tube-fed elderly stroke victim.
A stunned colleague who had nursed the woman for two years then tore up the A4 sheet of paper.
Davidson, a senior staff nurse at Lynebank Hospital in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland, has now been suspended for 18 months by a medical panel.
They ruled that the suspension was “necessary on the grounds of public protection”.
The conduct and competence committee of the Nursing and Midwifery Council [NMC] found that there was “a real risk of harm to patients and their dignity”.
Margaret Watt of the Scotland Patients Association said: “This is totally unacceptable. This man is in the wrong profession.
“There are two types of people who go into this work – those for whom it is a vocation, and others who are in it for the money and the holidays. It is clearly not a vocation for this man.
“This was a despicable and shocking thing to do. Although patients have not changed, the culture of caring has.
“Nurses should spend a year on the wards caring for people – washing them, taking them to the toilet – before progressing with their career.
“Those who are not able to care, or don’t want to, should be weeded out.
“This man is a total disgrace to his profession.”
Davidson started working at Lynebank Hospital in 2009, working in wards occupied by elderly colleagues.
On the night shift on April 1 2010, he wrote the message in black marker ink and sellotaped it to the chest of a frail pensioner known as ‘Patient A’.
A colleague, concerned about the insult to the woman’s dignity, saw the note and ripped it up.
Davidson denied that the notice was meant as a joke and told the panel he had written ‘Feed Me First’ as an instruction to staff.
He also alleged Patient A had nodded to indicate that she was hungry, a claim dismissed by another nurse who said the woman “did not have the capacity to communicate”.
The hearing was also told that “no other witness claimed to be able to communicate with Patient A in the manner described” by Davidson.
Several other charges involving dishonest conduct, were also proven against Davidson.
In June 2010, while attending a Minor Illness Course at the University of Abertay in Dundee, he asked a nurse and a nursing assistant to sign a record of his clinical hours, when they were not qualified to do so, and asked the assistant to sign the record in someone else’s name.
He also failed to complete 147 of supervised clinical practice and failed to inform the university that he had not undertaken the required number of hours.
In a subsequent investigation, Davidson produced a copy of a letter he claimed had been submitted to the university regarding his clinical hours, when it had not.
A spokesman for the committee hearing said: “The panel is of the view that based on the seriousness of the facts found proved there is a real risk of harm to patients and their dignity.
“The panel therefore concluded that some form of interim order is necessary on the grounds of public protection and being otherwise in the public interest, in order to maintain confidence in the professions and the NMC as regulator, pending the conclusion of this case.
“The panel remains very concerned at the findings of dishonesty and that you have continued to demonstrate dishonesty throughout this hearing.”
The hearing was adjourned and will resume in June.