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Nurse struck off after secret lover, a patient, dies in car

Updated: Jul 11, 2023

By Tomas Evans - Sky News - 04.07.2023 - [UK] - [Penelope Williams]

Penelope Williams had been a registered nurse working at a renal haemodialysis unit in Wrexham since October 2019 when the incident happened.

On the evening of 8 January 2022, the patient was found partially clothed in the back of a car and subsequently died from heart failure and chronic kidney disease triggered by a medical episode, a Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) hearing was told.

Mrs Williams failed to call an ambulance when the patient became unwell, according to a report by the Nursing and Midwifery Council's fitness to practice committee.

The patient, known as Patient A, was a renal patient on regular dialysis who also had heart problems. Earlier, Mrs Williams had been to a colleague's house and left later after an evening of socialising. At 11.56pm, Mrs Williams called her colleague "crying and distressed" as she tried to explain someone had died. The colleague advised Mrs Williams to call an ambulance and later arrived to meet Mrs Williams at the student nursing car park of the Spire Hospital in the northeast Wales city.

The colleague could see Patient A in the back of a car and she went to check on him.

After discovering he was unresponsive, the colleague called for an ambulance and the police as they had not already been called by Mrs Williams. Mrs Williams' colleague was advised by the 999 call handler to perform CPR. When Patient A was taken out of the car, his trousers were down. After he subsequently died, Mrs Williams told the police and paramedic at the scene that the patient had sent her a message on Facebook telling her that he was unwell so she came to meet him.

Later on 9 January 2022, she told police she and the patient were in a sexual relationship and they had already arranged to meet that evening in the car park. Mrs Williams gave a different account on 17 February 2022 when she denied any sexual relationship at a formal health board meeting. She said she had met with Patient A and they sat at the back of his car talking for about 30-45 minutes. Mrs Williams recalled the patient groaning and dying suddenly.

A local disciplinary hearing was held on 19 May 2022 where Mrs Williams admitted to having an intimate relationship with the patient which she did not disclose to her employer. At a virtual hearing of the Nursing and Midwifery Council last week, Mrs William was given a striking off order and interim suspension order for 18 months.

The fitness to practise panel determined Mrs Williams' failure to disclose the relationship, and her limited insight into the damage her relationship could cause to nursing's reputation or its effect on public safety, amounted to serious misconduct.

As a result, she was ultimately struck off for bringing the profession into disrepute.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can contact Dignity4Patients, whose helpline is open Monday to Thursday 10am to 4pm.


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