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Sydney

Former Nepean Private Hospital nurse turned off patient’s heart monitor alarm to FaceTime family

A former nurse at a hospital in Western Sydney has been deregistered after she turned off the audio on an elderly patient’s vital sign monitor during a FaceTime with family.

Geraldine Rumbo Dizon also failed to tell a doctor about the irregular heartbeat an hour before the 85-year-old man was found dead, the NSW Civil and Administrative Court of Appeals has revealed.

The court canceled Ms. Dizon’s nursing registration for at least 12 months and charged her with professional misconduct and satisfactory professional conduct during an overnight shift during the COVID-19 lockdown in July 2021. was found guilty.

The court’s decision indicates that Dizon intended to provide treatment to the man. Admitted to Nepean Private Hospital near Penrith on 16 July 2021 with renal and heart failure.

On the evening of July 29, 2021, despite being asked to observe the man at six-hour intervals, Mr. Dizon only made one observation during his 10-hour shift.

Evidence presented by the Health Care Complaints Commission shows that she also disconnected a “telemetry alarm speaker” connected to the monitoring devices of five patients, including an elderly man.

At a court hearing, Ms. Dizon said she turned off the speaker to prevent another “confused” patient from getting out of bed thinking it was her doorbell.

But she didn’t reconnect the alarm at the end of her shift.

“At 7:07 am on July 30, 2021, a cardiac monitor indicated that Patient A was bradycardic (slow heart rate),” the decision read.

“Nursing and medical staff were unable to hear alarms because telemetry alarm speakers were not yet connected.”

Seven minutes later, the man’s heart monitor quietly showed a “heart flat line,” but the nurse didn’t notice.

Other staff found the man cold and unresponsive at 7:20am.

Evidence presented to the court said Dizon was on the phone for “more than 66 minutes on FaceTime or other items” during the night shift, which was against hospital policy.

CCTV footage presented to the court showed a woman on the phone at her desk about 15 minutes before the patient’s heart began to slow.

Dizon said the use of the phone was “non-constant” and that she used it for work “to check on my family in the Philippines.”

Other complaints were that Ms. Dizon didn’t tell her colleagues about her irregular electrocardiogram (ECG) tests, and admitted that she was “not good at reading ECGs.”

The complaints panel also revealed that she worked at least 70 hours a week between January and July 2021, violating Australian nurse safety protocols.

Dizon, who worked four 10-hour night shifts a week at Nepean Public Hospital and three 10-hour shifts a week at Nepean Private, denied being tired.

She has been registered as a registered nurse in Australia since 2006 and trained in 1997 at Central Luzon Hospital, Philippines.

Her registration has been suspended since August 2021, one month after the incident.

The court’s decision said Dizon did not attend a hearing with the Health Care Complaints Board, claiming she had already quit nursing.

Healthscope Corporate, which operates 39 private hospitals across Australia, including Nepean Private Hospital, has been contacted for comment.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-04-28/ex-sydney-private-hospital-nurse-found-guilty-of-misconduct/102280278 Former Nepean Private Hospital nurse turned off patient’s heart monitor alarm to FaceTime family

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