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Lancashire nurse put man at risk of suicide
9:03am Thursday 10th January 2013 in By Vanessa Cornall, Deputy News Editor
A LANCASHIRE nurse risked allowing a suicidal patient at a secure unit to hang himself with a guitar string, a hearing was told.
Christine O’Meara gave the man free access to the instrument in breach of guidelines, it is alleged.
He was on suicide watch at Guild Lodge, near Longridge, and had previously tried to kill himself by strangulation and driving into a brick wall, the Nursing and Midwifery Council heard.
Ward manager Alison Makinson saw O’Meara hand over the guitar to the patient on May 7, 2010.
She said: “I saw her unlock the door to the office, go in, come back out with the guitar and give it to him. He went off to his room with the guitar and I asked Christine why she had done it. He was not allowed to have the guitar unsupervised.
“He had a history of self-harm and the risk assessment was to address the serious risk of him using the strings as a ligature. He was a suicide risk, this guy.
“He had been in our care for some time and there had been some serious attempts at self-harm, and prior to his admission there had been suicide attempts.
“There was nothing specifically related to a guitar, but there had been other serious ligature attempts, and other serious incidents, he’d once driven a car into a brick wall.
“He would have been alone with the guitar for 15 minutes if I hadn’t been watching at the time.”
Guild Lodge is run by Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust and takes patients from across the county.
O’Meara is also charged with visiting a patient after they were discharged to deliver drugs without properly reporting it and failing to give another patient a relaxation CD and anxiety management advice.
She is not present or represented at the London hearing. If found guilty of misconduct she could be kicked out of the profession.