| 27.05,09. 03:34 AM |
Brisbane judges rules in favour of suspended nurse
May 27, 2009 12:01am
A BRISBANE judge has ruled that a nurse suspended for pocketing an estimated $200,000 inheritance from a former patient had done nothing wrong.
Glennys Laurel Fletcher, 50, was found guilty by a tribunal last year of "unsatisfactory professional conduct" in relation to Rosewood resident James Paidley, 75, for whom she cared as a Blue Care nurse from 2002 to 2004.
After Paidley was admitted to Ipswich Hospital in May 2004 and later transferred to nursing homes, Fletcher continued to visit him, fed his cat, mowed his lawn and collected his mail until his death in July 2005.
The tribunal found Fletcher's failure to ensure a "proper professional distance" was a "breach of her professional obligations" but did not find she had tried to influence him to benefit from his will.
Mr Paidley left the vast majority of his estate to Fletcher, unbeknown to her, in a will drafted by his privately appointed Ipswich-based lawyers before his death, the court was told.
However, Brisbane District Court Judge David Robin, in a written judgment handed down on Monday, overturned the tribunal's decision.
Judge Robin said there was no evidence Fletcher had used "undue influence" or exercised an "abuse of position" in refusing to relinquish the "generous gift" Mr Paidley left her in his will.
"There is a problem when the location of (professional) 'boundaries' not to be crossed (by nurses) cannot be identified (in Queensland's Nursing Act)," he said.
"It would have been a useful indication of what standards members of the nursing profession expected of someone like Mrs Fletcher.
"It will be interesting to see whether this proceedings leads to an amendment (to the Act)."
Fletcher resigned from Blue Care after the organisation asked her to give up the $200,000 left to her by Paidley or lose her job.
Late last year the tribunal cancelled Fletcher's nursing registration for two years with a condition that she could never work again as a community health nurse or in an aged care facility.
Fletcher appealed in the District Court last month against the tribunal's decision, with her counsel, John Allen, describing the two years as "excessive".
The court ordered the Queensland Nursing Council pay Fletcher $10,000 in legal costs.
The council is considering an appeal.