Two Healthcare Workers Found Guilty
Catherine Hudson, 54, residing at Coriander Close, Blackpool, and Charlotte Wilmot, 48, of Bowland Crescent, Blackpool, faced multiple charges and have been convicted.
Their trial took place at Preston Crown Court, shedding light on disturbing events occurring between 2017 and 2018 at Blackpool Victoria Hospital’s stroke unit, where Hudson worked as a senior nurse.
Malicious Sedation for Amusement and Convenience
Hudson and Wilmot engaged in a chilling misuse of their positions by needlessly sedating patients. Motivated by their own amusement, spite for patients, and to ensure an easy shift, they risked the well-being of their patients, including Aileen Scott, a Glasgow resident holidaying in Blackpool.
Experts Outline the Dangers
Expert witnesses during the trial emphasised the life-threatening risks associated with administering non-prescribed sedatives, particularly to elderly and vulnerable individuals. Despite being fully aware of these dangers, Hudson and Wilmot chose to proceed, demonstrating a shocking lack of care.
Lax Control Over Prescription Drugs
Worryingly, controls over prescription-only drugs at the stroke unit were so lax that staff had taken to self-medicating or stealing drugs like Zopiclone to administer to patients.
Whistleblower Alerts Authorities
The series of unlawful acts came to light when a student nurse who had been working alongside Hudson raised concerns in November 2018. This nurse witnessed Hudson administer non-prescribed Zopiclone to a patient and was told not to worry about it when she questioned the act.
Revealing Text Messages
Upon investigation, mobile devices from various staff members were seized. The contents were alarming: numerous messages were found that not only mocked patients and their families but also boasted about drugging them. In one message, Hudson told her daughter she would sedate a “nightmare” patient, laughing that he would then “sleep like a baby.”
Theft of Medications
As investigations deepened, authorities discovered a significant theft of medications and prescription-only drugs, including Omeprazole and Mebeverine. Hudson and Wilmot admitted to conspiring to steal these medications.
Both Hudson and Wilmot admitted to conspiring to steal medication. Hudson also admitted to perverting the course of justice. After the trial, Hudson was found guilty of three counts of ill-treatment and one count of conspiracy to ill-treat, while Wilmot was found guilty of conspiracy to ill-treat and encouraging Hudson to sedate a patient.
Both convicted healthcare professionals await sentencing, the date for which has yet to be determined.
Det Ch Insp Jill Johnston, of Lancashire Police, said:
“Hudson and Wilmot ill-treated the very people who they were supposed to care for. This was a complete abuse of their position of trust – trust that the victims and their families had, expecting them to be looked after and made to feel safe. The reality was sadly quite the opposite.
“Hudson and Wilmot treated the patients without care or compassion, laughing when they came to harm and drugging them to keep them quiet so that they could have an easy shift.
“The risks associated with these callous acts were obvious – inappropriately sedating elderly stroke patients could lead to added health complications and even death. They were both fully aware of the risks, which makes their behaviour even harder to comprehend.
“Everyone should be safe in hospital, should receive the care they need and be treated with dignity and respect. Sadly, our enquiries uncovered the actions of a nurse who was prepared to commit systematic and calculated offending, all whilst portraying herself as a role model nurse. This could not be further from the truth.
“This has been a detailed and thorough investigation that has impacted on many patients and their families. I would like to pass on my thanks to the victims and their families, for the way that they have supported this investigation and conducted themselves throughout this trial, listening to some distressing and despicable evidence.
“I am pleased that justice has been served and that Hudson and Wilmot will never be allowed to work in the care profession again.”
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