A male nurse who assaulted a female colleague during a night shift at a nursing home in Cork six years ago has been found guilty of professional misconduct.
The Fitness to Practise Committee of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland found the charge of striking a healthcare assistant on one or more occasions proven against registered nurse, Ado Mazombe, in relation to an incident at Oaklodge Nursing Home in Churchtown South, Co. Cork, on May 8, 2016.
At an inquiry held over various dates in February and March, the committee heard that Mr Mazombe, who did not attend the hearing, had initially told his superiors that he would not apologise over the assault as he had been pushed to “breaking point.”
It heard evidence that Mr Mazombe had raised issues with the nursing home’s management about working with his colleague. The assault arose after the healthcare assistant interrupted Mr Mazombe while he was dispensing medicine to seek assistance in dealing with a patient and a row developed during which the pair had to be separated by other staff.
The committee heard that both an ambulance and gardaí were called to the nursing home as the victim suffered a fall as a result of the attack. Staff nurse, Eimear McLoughlin gave evidence that she found the victim had collapsed on the ground at a nurse’s station and appeared “unresponsive.”
The inquiry heard that Mr Mazombe subsequently admitted to the nursing home’s management to pushing his colleague and hitting her. The NMBI committee was informed that he had apologised for his actions and was full of remorse and shame, while also learning that he claimed the two parties were now friends.
Announcing the NMBI’s findings at a hearing on Friday, the chairperson of the FTP committee, Professor Colm O’Herlihy, said the assault by Mr Mazombe was “conduct of the most disgraceful sort and involved moral turpitude at the most serious end of the spectrum.”
Prof. O’Herlihy said the committee had been satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that such conduct was “a serious falling short of the expected standards” and “infamous and disgraceful in every respect.”
It also found Mr Mazombe’s conduct represented several breaches of parts of the professional code for nurses over his failure to respect his colleague and to demonstrate a standard of professional behaviour as well as failing to demonstrate responsibility and accountability for his actions.
It said his conduct had also failed to ensure that the healthcare environment for himself, his colleague and patients was safe and his conduct was not safety-conscious and he had also failed to act with kindness and compassion.
The committee also found an allegation proven that Mr Mazombe was convicted of a criminal offence triable on indictment.
The inquiry heard evidence from a Garda witness that Mr Mazombe was convicted of assault causing harm under the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act after pleading guilty to the offence at Midleton District Court in April 2017 in relation to the assault on the healthcare assistant for which he was ordered to carry out 200 hours of community service.
Prof. O’Herlihy said it did not matter that the offence by Mr Mazombe had been dealt with summarily at District Court level.
However, the nurse was cleared of a charge of professional misconduct over the alleged manhandling of an older male resident with dementia, known as Patient A, around February or March 2016 as Prof. O’Herlihy said the facts were not proven.
The committee had been cautioned by its legal advisor that there was a vagueness about the dates of the alleged mistreatment of the resident and a lack of contemporaneous records.
Evidence was heard that the allegation only came to the attention of management at the Oaklodge nursing home after Mr Mazombe had left its employment.
The sanctions to be imposed on Mr Mazombe by the NMBI will be announced at a later day before needing to be confirmed by the High Court.