A nurse who asked a resident if they were holding a baby – when it was a teddy bear – has been permanently banned from practising.
Violet Ruto did not appear before a Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) hearing in London on March 24 but admitted in a pre-written statement that she had asked the unnamed patient if the teddy was human.
She denied genuinely mistaking the toy for a baby and said she had “made a joke which has been taken the wrong way”, but the panel said they believed she was genuinely “confused” and “had, in fact, mistaken a stuffed toy for a baby”.
The incident took place in Oakhurst Grange Care Home in Goffs Park Road, Crawley, in December 2010, the hearing was told.
Miss Ruto was also found guilty of sleeping in a patient’s room while on duty there. In addition, Miss Ruto was found guilty of turning up for work at Ashton Grange Care Home in Richmond Road, Horsham, in December 2010 while under the influence of alcohol. Unnamed former colleagues told the hearing she turned up for work while “unsteady” on her feet.
The NMC found her guilty of misconduct and struck her off.
The board said: “No information in mitigation has been provided by Miss Ruto.
“It [the NMC] nevertheless had regard to the fact that there was no evidence that any resident in her care came to any actual harm. However, the panel concluded that the value of this as a mitigating factor was limited since it was clear that this was the result of the professionalism of Miss Ruto’s colleagues and not because of any decision she had made.”