Warwick Hospital nurse loses job after drug error with dementia patient

Warwick Hospital
Warwick Hospital

A nurse who worked at Warwick Hospital for more than two years has lost his job over wrongly giving an elderly dementia patient morphine to “calm” her.

At a five-day hearing held at the Old Bailey in London which ended last Friday (March 7), Andreas Karagiannis was given a ‘conditions of practice’ order - which prevents him from administering drugs unsupervised - for 12 months. But he had already been sacked from Warwick Hospital in February 2012.

The hearing in London, heard by a panel from the Nursing and Midwifery Council, heard that Mr Karagiannis gave the 82-year-old patient 10mg of morphine sulphate without the required supervision in July 2011, after she had become agitated.

Mr Karagiannis, who did not appear at the hearing, had said during the investigation that he had administered the drug to calm the woman down and for the purpose of pain relief rather than to sedate her. But he admitted to failing to keep proper records and to ask for a second nurse or doctor to be present while giving the woman the morphine.

It its report on the case, the panel stated: “Mr Karagiannis’ conduct put patients at risk of significant harm through his failures to ensure necessary checks were undertaken and appropriate records made.

“His failings in this respect have brought the profession into disrepute, placed patients at risk of harm and ignored the clear guidance set out in the South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust’s policy for the safe administration of controlled drugs.”

Helen Lancaster, director of nursing at Warwick Hospital, said: “Patient safety is our number one priority. In this instance to ensure safe practices were maintained, we carried out a formal investigation into the conduct of the member of staff.

“This resulted in the individual being dismissed by the trust in February 2012 and the case being referred by us to the Nursing and Midwifery Council. I would also like to assure patients that all of the processes were reviewed following the investigation and there were no areas of concern.”