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Nurse accused of making drug error at Worthing Hospital
A casualty nurse is being investigated over claims she disobeyed doctor’s orders, wrongly medicated a seriously ill teen and took strong painkillers while at work.
Samantha Powell is accused of breaching UK licensing laws while working shifts in accident and emergency at Worthing Hospital on December 20 last year.
She allegedly gave a 17-year-old who was brought into A&E suffering from seizures an anti-epileptic medicine called Paraldehyde.
It is claimed she gave the teen the drug orally, despite a paediatric sister and doctor telling her it must be prescribed rectally.
Paraldehyde is not licensed to be given orally in the UK and it can cause “serious harm” to people, Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) papers reveal.
The NMC has suspended Powell from working for 18 months while it investigates the claims against her.
Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust referred the case to the NMC in mid-February.
The NMC said: “The doctor who was present prescribed the patient Paraldehyde, to be administered rectally.
“It is alleged that Miss Powell obtained the drug and, despite being told by the paediatric sister and the prescribing doctor that the drug could only be given rectally, went on to administer 4ml orally whilst the paediatric sister and doctor went to check the British National Formulary (BNF) regarding the administration of Paraldehyde.”
The NMC said: “The side effects of oral administration of Paraldehyde can cause gastric irritation and further medication was given to counter this.”
The NMC also reported that Powell had been accused of taking the painkiller codeine for her personal use from Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust when she worked there.
In relation to this it was claimed: “Ms Tyler [her solicitor] submitted that you were in a great deal of pain from an injury to your elbow and you would have called in sick, had it not been Christmas Day.”
A spokesman for Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust said: “It is not appropriate to comment publicly at this time, while an investigation is being conducted.”
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