Foul-mouthed nurse refused to aid patient as 'he'll die anyway'

A NURSE who was supposed to be caring for elderly people got intoxicated on painkillers, abused patients and even used her teeth to tear open a fluid bag designed for a drip.

Kristina Kurdell used foul and hurtful language, including such phrases as "He will f****** die anyway", in front of patients and other staff at Hairmyres Hospital, in East Kilbride, Lanarkshire.

She forced one patient with a fractured hip to get up and walk and told another who asked for a bedpan: "Wet yourself, then."

At a Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) hearing in Edinburgh, Kurdell failed to appear but admitted six charges in a letter from her lawyer.

Margaret Watt, chairwoman of the Scotland Patients Association, said: "People don't go into hospital to be tortured or hear such foul language. There is no way she should ever get back to treating another human being. We don't need someone like that bringing our service into disrepute."

Kurdell worked at Hairmyres between November 2006 and January 2007, and all the incidents took place between 8 and 18 January. The first occurred when she was doing a round with a student nurse.

Alex Mills, representing the NMC, said: "She saw the registrant (Kurdell] take a pen from a patient. After completing the medication round, the registrant said, 'If that's her pen, I'm the f****** queen of Sheba'."

He said another student nurse later heard her become frustrated while trying to give a patient medication. She heard Kurdell say: "For f***'s sake, take it."

Then, on 10 January, a patient asked for a bedpan. Mr Mills said: "The patient said, 'Please help me, I'm going to wet myself'. The registrant said, 'Well, wet yourself then'."

The same day Kurdell had been assisting a patient with a fractured hip, whose physio-therapy notes said he could not stand. Mr Mills said: "The registrant ordered him to stand and walk to a chair while she changed his sheets. He appeared to be in considerable pain."

Later that day, while discussing another patient, "the registrant said the patient was not suitable for treatment because he will f****** die anyway", Mr Mills said.

Her behaviour became more erratic on 18 January.

Mr Mills said: "A clinical support worker saw her bite open a fluid bag with her teeth before attaching it to a drip line. Biting off can cause a fluid bag to become contaminated with saliva and lead to infection."

On the same day, staff noticed Kurdell slurring her words.

Mr Mills said: "It was reported to a staff nurse that the registrant was unwell and acting oddly. The registrant said she had been taking painkillers since 4pm because of toothache, and had been up all night before.

"She was relieved of duties and sent home."

An NHS Lanarkshire spokesman said: "We cannot comment on individual disciplinary matters.NHS Lanarkshire aims to provide the highest standard of care and we take any allegation of misconduct very seriously."

The NMC panel is due to announce its sanction today.