Sunderland hospital worker found asleep on the job after taking an anaesthetic

An ambulance outside Sunderland Royal Hospital's Accident and Emergency department yesterday morning
An ambulance outside Sunderland Royal Hospital's Accident and Emergency department yesterday morning
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A HOSPITAL worker was found snoring in a chair at Sunderland Royal after taking an anaesthetic, a disciplinary hearing was told.

Raymond Collins was at the time the only the operating department practitioner on duty, and “was in no fit state to provide an emergency response”.

A committee of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) decided that Collins, who did not attend the hearing in Newcastle, should be struck off the register for misconduct.

It was said Collins was on duty at the Royal on Sunday, July 18, 2010, at about 5.30pm when he was found by a cleaner to be asleep in the day case area of the hospital.

His role on that day involved providing patient care in the main operating department.

As a member of the operating theatre anaesthetic team, he was responsible for providing cover for patients undergoing elective and emergency surgical procedures.

An investigation was commenced, Collins was suspended from work and a disciplinary hearing held on February 11, last year, following which, he was dismissed from his employment.

The HCPC panel heard evidence from staff nurses Cameron Hurwood and Teena Kumari, directorate matron Denise Simpson and divisional human resources manager Nick Hobdey.

The hearing was told that Collins was found asleep in a chair and could not be easily woken.

Also, that he had green gauze over his nose and an open bottle of Sevoflurane next to him.

The panel said: “Mr Collins was confused and groggy when roused and provided different explanations at different times.

“He could not be roused immediately which confirms the most likely explanation that he was under the influence of an anaesthetic agent, rather than in a natural sleep or having fainted.”

Collins was also found to have attempted to sabotage the City Hospitals Sunderland investigation by disposing of the gauze he used to self-administer the anaesthetic drug, and the contents of the bottle.

Collins was asked to produce the Sevoflurane bottle and gauze, but it was alleged he provided a different bottle which was labelled and clearly not the bottle which had been seen by staff on the table next to him in the cubicle.

The panel found that he deliberately disposed of the gauze used to self-administer Sevoflurane, and the contents of the bottle.

In this respect his actions were “dishonest.”

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