Patient Dies of a Brain Injury After 24 Falls in Mental Health Unit

Two nurses at Lismore Base Hospital on the New South Wales north coast have been found guilty of professional misconduct by the state’s Health Care Complaints Commission, after a patient died of a brain injury due to 24 falls while in their care.

The patient was filmed wandering naked and covered in faeces in Lismore’s Adult Mental Health Unit in mid-2014. Closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage showed that in the seven hours before she was transferred to intensive care she fell 24 times. For most of that time she was alone in a locked room, but the nurses’ records made no mention of any falls.

During her five hours in a seclusion room, no-one entered to check her temperature, pulse, respiration or blood pressure, and she was not offered any food or water or access to a toilet.

The woman died from a brain injury the following day.

Since the patient’s death, an internal investigation has been conducted into the area health service and a number of changes to its mental health unit operations have been made.

Read more here.

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