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04th Jul 2023

Nurse sacked after secret lover patient dies in car

Steve Hopkins

The man was found in the back of his car with his trousers down

A nurse has been sacked after a patient she was having a secret relationship with died following a late-night hospital car park meeting.

Penelope Williams ignored advice to call an ambulance for the man, known only as Patient A, after he collapsed outside the Spire hospital in Wrexham, north Wales, in January 2022, a hearing was told. He was later found by one of Williams’ colleagues in the back of his own car, unresponsive, with his trousers down.

His cause of death was listed as “heart failure and chronic kidney disease triggered by a medical episode”.

Williams has been struck off by the Nursing and Midwifery Council for bringing the profession into disrepute.

A fitness to practise panel was told the man received regular treatment at the Betsi Cadwaladr health board, where Williams worked as a general nurse on a renal unit.

On the night he died, Williams went to a colleague’s home, before meeting the man.

Williams later called the colleague, “crying and distressed and asking for help as she tried to explain that someone had died”.

She was told to call an ambulance.

The colleague later went to the hospital car park where she found Williams and the man and called 999.

The man was pronounced dead the scene.

Williams initially told police and a paramedic she had gone to the car park after the man messaged her saying he was unwell, but the next day admitted she had been in a sexual relationship with him.

She then denied this to health board officials in February, claiming she had been in the back of the man’s car for 30-45 minutes “just talking” before he “started groaning and suddenly died”.

At a May disciplinary hearing, Williams admitted both the relationship and not calling an ambulance and was sacked.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council panel found failing to mention the relationship “put her own interests ahead of the wellbeing of Patient A”.

It said while Williams was remorseful, she had limited insight about the damage her relationship could cause to nursing’s reputation or its effect on public safety, the BBC reported.

The council said that amounted to serious misconduct and her fitness to practise was impaired.

Read the Nursing and Midwifery Council report here.

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