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Gainsborough care home nurse struck off after patient dies

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Nurse Struck Off After Administering Excessive Morphine Dose Resulting in Patient’s Death

The case of Nicola Sharp, the nurse who administered an excessive dose of morphine resulting in a patient’s death, serves as a harrowing reminder of the importance of adhering to medical protocols and maintaining the highest standards of care.


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In a tragic incident at Howson Care Centre in Gainsborough, a nurse named Nicola Sharp has been struck off by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) for administering a dangerously high dose of morphine to a patient, leading to their untimely demise.

Nicola Sharp, a nurse working at Howson Care Centre, was responsible for the care of a patient referred to as Patient A, who was receiving palliative care.

Patient A had been prescribed a dose of 2.5mg-5mg of morphine for pain relief. However, on October 19, 2019, Ms. Sharp administered a staggering 2.5mls of morphine, which was up to 10 times the prescribed dose.

Tragically, Patient A passed away shortly after this excessive dosage was given.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) conducted a thorough investigation into the incident. It was revealed that Ms. Sharp failed to record the administration of the morphine and the reason behind it in Patient A’s care notes.

These oversights raised serious concerns about her conduct and adherence to professional standards.

Following the incident at Howson Care Centre, Nicola Sharp took up a position at Drovers Call Care Home in Gainsborough in August 2020. However, her employment at this facility was marred by another medication error.

In March 2023, Ms. Sharp administered 19 units of insulin to a resident, identified as Patient B, instead of the prescribed four units. This error further compounded the concerns surrounding Ms. Sharp’s competency and ability to provide safe and proper care to patients.

After considering the evidence presented, the NMC concluded that the allegations against Nicola Sharp in relation to both Patient A and Patient B were proven, and her actions amounted to misconduct.

It was noted that Ms. Sharp had not shown any remorse or insight into her actions, leading the panel to deem her fitness to practice as “currently impaired”.

As a result, an interim suspension order was put in place, allowing Ms. Sharp the opportunity to appeal the decision. If she chooses not to appeal, the suspension order will be replaced by a striking-off order, permanently removing her from the nursing profession.

Following Patient A’s death, Lincolnshire Police launched an investigation into the incident. However, the case was dropped in March 2020 due to the lack of a realistic prospect of conviction.

Despite this outcome, the incident was thoroughly examined during an inquest in April 2021, which determined that the medical cause of Patient A’s death was the “effects of morphine”. The coroner ruled the death as a “misadventure”.

Howson Care Centre confirmed that Nicola Sharp was suspended and subsequently dismissed following Patient A’s death.

The care home acknowledged the coroner’s conclusion regarding the cause of death and expressed their condolences to the family of the deceased.

In contrast, Knights Care Ltd, the operator of Drovers Call Care Home, stated that they were unaware of the incident in October 2019 when they recruited Ms. Sharp. Nevertheless, after the medication error involving Patient B, Ms. Sharp was dismissed.

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