Sligo: Probation for nurse who taped patient's mouth

A nurse in the Republic of Ireland who admitted taping a patient's mouth to keep him quiet has been given the Probation Act.

A judge has recommended that Bimbo Paden, 39, from the Phillipines should not be struck off the Register.

Judge Kevin Kilrane felt that would be disproportionate. He found Paden had been overworked and stressed.

He was critical of the conditions in which Paden worked at St John's Hospital in Sligo.

Kevin Quinn, 49, from Ballymote, County Sligo, was a patient there for 13 years having suffered a brain haemorrhage.

At an earlier hearing Paden, who worked at St John's for 12 years shortly after arriving in Ireland from the Philipines, admitted assaulting Mr Quinn on 26 June 26 2013.

The court heard earlier that an internal investigation found that Paden worked under serious stress and had never complained about it.

At an earlier hearing, consultant psychiatrist Dr Patricia Noone said that father-of-three Paden had been afraid to leave his home in Sligo since the assault for which he accepted full responsibility, because he feared that the community would be angry and abusive.

On Thursday, Judge Kilrane said that after considering reports, he found that Paden had been caring for nine patients, most of them in the high-dependancy category.

'Unfair workload'

He had been tending to another patient suffering from terminal illness who was irritated by noise being made by Mr Quinn.

The nurse placed a tape over Mr Quinn's mouth. Detailed investigations had shown the work-load in the unit was inequitably distributed, with the defendant carrying out an unduly high workload.

It was unsafe, unreasonable and there was a seriously inadequate level of staffing. There was no evidence that Mr Quinn was harmed physically or otherwise by the assault.

The judge noted that Paden was unable to contact Mr Quinn's family to express his remorse for what he had done but he did ask the HSE (Ireland's Health Service) to pass this on.

"It is very unfortunate the HSE did not communicate that remorse. That is very disappointing," the judge said.

He speculated that because Paden did not complain, he had been lumbered with an unfair workload.

The judge said the assault was an "appalling incident" but it was a "one-off and totally out of character". He said he found the facts proved, but was dismissing the charge under the Probation Act.