Nurses Guilty Of Manslaughter

Epileptic fit


Two care home nurses who failed to help a woman during an epileptic fit have been handed suspended jail terms for her manslaughter.

Harjinder Mangat, 58, was given a four-month suspended sentence and Bernadette Gerrard, 44, a six-month suspended jail term when they appeared before Stafford Crown Court.

Mr Justice Stadland ruled that 36-year-old Eileen Murphy, who died at the Richard House Nursing Home in Walsall in March 2003, had "suffered an avoidable death".

Ms Mangat, who was deputy matron at the home at the time of Miss Murphy's death, was found guilty of manslaughter on the grounds of gross negligence. Ms Gerrard had admitted the charge.

Prosecutor Kevan Hegarty said Miss Murphy died after suffering a two-and-half-hour epileptic fit.

"If diazepam had been available at an early stage of the seizure it would have resulted in a relaxation of the patient with a gradual return to consciousness," he said.

"And had an ambulance been called, she would have been treated appropriately with an intravenous dose of diazepam."

He told jurors that Miss Murphy was just "left and left" until she died.

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Rachelle Mahapatra from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: "This is a truly tragic case. It emphasises the importance of having proper up to date care plans for people in residential nursing homes and that the management are responsible for ensuring that staff are trained and have the relevant skills to be able to care for people with complex medical problems."