A nurse has been found guilty of professional misconduct for slapping a patient, and for compromising the health and safety of the patient by failing to advise the medical practitioner who assessed the patient following the restraint procedure of the incident and failing to complete an incident form.
The Tribunal concluded that the slap was a reflex action in the context of a restraint, with no element of premeditation. However, it confirmed that: "[i]t is always wholly inacceptable for any health practitioner to assault a patient, even if there is provocation". The Tribunal also found that the practitioner failed to take appropriate action following the incident (he did not advise the house surgeon who countersigned the restraint reporting form, document the incident, nor complete an incident form) and that this compromised the health and safety of the patient. The Tribunal noted that, had it not been for the fact that the nurse had been excluded from the workplace but was eventually reinstated, it would have suspended the nurse for six months. Further, given the significant loss of income already suffered by the nurse as a result of the incident, a fine was not considered appropriate. The nurse was censured, ordered to pay costs of $12,000 and had two conditions imposed on his practice. Kees De Bruin533/Nur12/226P