Nurse struck off after feeding porridge to pensioner in a coma


Zoila Maria De Oliveira was told she had put elderly patients in danger (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A care home nurse who fed porridge into the mouth of a comatose pensioner has been barred from the profession.

Zoila Maria De Oliveira also walked past a dementia patient who was undressing in the lounge of the home and refused to help her because she ‘did not want to get [her] shoes dirty’, a tribunal heard.

Ms De Oliveira, who is originally from Italy, was suspended for serious misconduct and lack of conduct in 2019.

Concerns had been raised about occasions when she administered the wrong medications or dosages and she scored ‘well below’ the required level on an English language test.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council struck the nurse off their register after finding she had failed to make any efforts to improve her English or reflect on her actions.

A tribunal heard further incidents from her previous employers at Foxearth Lodge Nursing Home in Woodbridge, Suffolk, where she worked between June and September 2017.

In August that year, the support manager of the home’s dementia unit said she saw Ms De Oliveira trying to feed porridge to a female resident who was in a coma.

Addressing the nurse, a tribunal report said: ‘[The manager] had to stop you from feeding the resident and you continued to insist that the resident needed to eat after being told to stop. She did not think that you understood what she was saying.

A manager had to scoop porridge out of the unconscious patient’s mouth (Picture: Getty Images)

‘She had to scoop some food out of the resident’s mouth.

‘One does not have to be a nurse to know that feeding a person who is in a coma… is wrong and presents a serious risk of harm.

‘Mrs De Oliveira’s actions to feed a resident who was in a coma was dangerous… she could see that the resident was unconscious.’

The panel heard that, at a later date, Mrs De Oliveira ‘failed to preserve a resident’s dignity by allowing her to continue undressing in the lounge’.

Its report added: ‘You walked past [the resident] as she was undressing and did nothing.

‘[The manager] asked you to assist [the resident] as she had concerns about preserving the resident’s dignity and you refused because you did not want to get your shoes dirty.’

The panel’s verdict said ‘being unwilling to assist a resident due to a risk of getting dirty… amounted to misconduct’.

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