Stoke & Staffordshire

Stafford Hospital worker 'called patient an animal'

A Stafford Hospital worker pulled a dementia patient around by his pyjamas with his genitals exposed and said he was "like an animal", a tribunal heard.

Bonka Kostova pushed the 73-year-old man into the bathroom and on to the toilet before shouting at him, the Nursing and Midwifery Council heard.

Ms Kostova also shouted that she "hated" the patient, a witness said.

A report into failings at the hospital found "appalling and unnecessary suffering" of hundreds of patients.

The patient had been in the hospital for just over a month when the incident happened just after 03:00 BST on 22 July 2010.

Admitted shouting

He could become aggressive and needed a one-to-one carer, sometimes with the assistance of a second person.

On the night of the incident, healthcare assistant Ms Kostova was left in charge while her colleague went on a break.

Jane Wilkinson, a staff nurse, said she witnessed the incident.

She said Ms Kostova described the patient as being "like an animal".

Mrs Wilkinson said the carer could be "abrupt" with other members of staff but was hardworking.

Alison Jepson, the hospital's matron of medicine, interviewed Ms Kostova after the incident.

She said the healthcare assistant denied pushing and dragging the patient.

"He walked outside [the toilet] without any pants or trousers at all so I needed to sort him out to protect his dignity", Ms Kostova told Ms Jepson.

Ms Kostova admitted shouting at the patient, but said it would have been difficult for her to manhandle him because he was much taller than her.

However, Ms Jepson said she thought Ms Kostova did not treat dementia sufferers as human.

While Ms Kostova had received general training in looking after vulnerable adults, she had not received specific training for dementia patients, ward manager Sharon Matthews told the tribunal.

The hearing continues.

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