Nurse jailed for headbutting patient, 72

A critical care nurse who headbutted an elderly and seriously ill patient has been jailed for 15 months.

David Hadfield, 54, from Oldham, was convicted of unlawfully wounding Thomas Bretherton, 72, on 6 August 2013 at the Royal Blackburn Hospital.

Hadfield denied the offence at Preston Crown Court in October where he was cleared of another offence of wounding with intent.

He has been suspended by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NWC).

Hadfield was assigned to look after Mr Bretherton who had been in hospital for four days with pancreatitis and was wearing a breathing apparatus.

Tim Storrie, prosecuting, said: "This whole episode was part of a very distressing history for his family."

'Unblemished career'

Simon Nichol, defending, said: "The headbutts were a reaction to Mr Bretherton's distressed, confused and aggressive state when the defendant was trying to assist him."

He said the only explanation his client could offer for this sole blemish on his 30 years in nursing was a problem in the relationship with his long-term partner.

In sentencing, Judge Simon Newell said "ordinary members of the community would find this a gross violation of trust".

Judge Newell said Hadfield caused harm and damage to Mr Bretherton and "distress and upset for his family".

Christine Pearson, chief nurse at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said the trust has a zero-tolerance approach to any ill-treatment, adding: "We have sincerely apologised to Mr Bretherton's family who have suffered greatly."

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