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Nurse responsible for care of critically ill patient at Harefield Hospital caught taking DRUGS on shift

Abdel-Azeez A-I Othman was caught in a toilet cubical injecting himself with drugs while responsible for patient only being kept alive by a life support machine

A nurse was caught taking drugs during a shift at Harefield Hospital

A nurse who injected himself with drugs whilst solely responsible for a critically ill patient at Harefield Hospital, has been struck off.

Abdel-Azeez A-I Othman was found hunched in a toilet cubicle in the intensive care unit at Harefield Hospital, Hillingdon, during a night shift as an agency nurse.

A colleague was forced to break the toilet door down after an empty syringe and needle were seen on the cubicle floor.

Othman admitted taking 1mg lorazepam intravenously and was found to have 10mg of the tranquillizer diazepam in his bag.

He was working for the Medilink Consulting agency at the time of the night shift on December 2, 2014, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) heard.

Othman was responsible for the one-on-one care of a 'high dependency' patient who had suffered a cardiac arrest two days previously.

The patient was only being kept alive by a life support machine, pumping air in and out of the lungs.

The patient was fully supported by the machine and was dangerously ill.

Found locked in toilet with a syringe and needle on the floor

During the shift Othman claimed he was not feeling well and members of staff were sent to find him.

A nurse entered the men's changing room and found the toilet door was locked while another colleague looked under the toilet door to find a syringe and needle on the floor.

Othman, who also worked at St John & St Elizabeth Hospital, St John's Wood, as a senior staff nurse admitted possessing a Class C drug at West London Magistrates Court on May 5 2015.

He was sentenced to a one-year community order, a four-month curfew requirement with electronic tagging and £145 fine.

Vulnerable patient 'put at risk'

NMC panel chair Stuart Gray told Othman: “The panel was concerned at the contradictory nature and lack of consistency in your responses in respect of your history of taking drugs.

“On the relevant night shift you had responsibilities for a very ill and vulnerable patient who was put at risk of harm by your actions.

“You drew up a controlled Class C medication, lorezapam, for personal use at the patient's bedside and put your personal interests first.

“You were an experienced registered nurse but you brought controlled Class C drugs in your bag to the hospital premises and self-administered lorezapam whilst on duty."

Othman was said to have abused his position of trust whilst there was a duty of care which he had compromised.

Mr Gray continued: “This was a significant departure from what is expected of a registered nurse.

“Your actions had a severe impact on patient care, colleagues and the reputation of the profession.”

Othman did not appear at the NMC hearing and was struck off the NMC register.

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