Prison nurse banned after death of diabetic inmate due to failure to made adequate checks

A prison nurse at HMP Peterborough has been banned from practicing for failing to make adequate checks on a diabetic inmate, who later passed away.

Friday, 23rd April 2021, 4:00 pm
HMP Peterborough
HMP Peterborough

Lesley Watts has been banned from practicing for 18 months by The Nursing and Midwifery Council following a hearing after they ruled she failed to help Annabella Landsberg on September 2, 2017.

She died in hospital four days later after being restrained and left on the floor for almost 24 hours. Mrs Watts accepted the charge and admitted: “I am extremely ashamed and embarrassed for treating her so uncaringly and at a time when she was most in need.

“I will always carry the guilt with me for not intervening earlier in her welfare and for not recognising how unwell she had become.”

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An inquest in 2019 heard that Mrs Landsberg was asked to stand up so she could be given medication in her cell, when she did not she was physically restrained after an officer said that she grabbed her leg.

The hearing was told the 45-year-old mother-of-three was then left on her cell floor overnight.

In the morning, when she was doing her rounds, Mrs Watts claims to have observed moving and breathing through the cell window.

Three hours later, Concerned staff alerted Mrs Watts to the condition of Ms Landsberg and said she was mumbling incoherently. Mrs Watts’ reply was that the patient was “attention-seeking and faking medical issues”.

At around 12:00 BST, the inmate was observed on the floor snoring.

Mrs Watts entered the cell at just before 15:00 at which point, the panel were told, Mrs Landsberg groaned but would not get off the floor.

She then said: “There are residents that are really ill and they are having to wait to see me because I have got to come and see you. You need to get up, you are pathetic.”

Before leaving, Mrs Watts then threw a cup of water at Mrs Landsberg and added: “You haven’t wet yourself, this is what you’ve done.”

An ambulance was only called after the Clinical Nurse Manager intervened and carried out her own examination of Mrs Landsberg.

They found Mrs Landsberg’s belongings all around the cell, with the patient herself lying in an awkward diagonal position on her back with her head almost underneath the built-in desk.

She had a blue hair net over her face which had a hole in the front for her mouth and nose. Her breakfast and lunch were in the cell and neither had been touched, which concerned the Clinical Nurse Manager, because it meant that a member of staff would have had to step over the inmate, who should have seen her poor condition.

Mrs Landsberg later died in hospital on September 6.

The panel said that Mrs Watts’ failure did not contribute to Mrs Landsberg’s death, however, she was found to have committed misconduct in her clinical and physical observations and her physical and verbal abuse of the inmate.

At the same hearing, Mrs Watts was also found to have committed another case of misconduct while she was working as a healthcare assistant at Hinchingbrooke Hospital in 2018.

As a result of this, Mrs Watts has been banned from working as a nurse for 18 months with a review before the end of the period.

Mrs Watts started working at HMP Peterborough in 2014 and was dismissed from her post in January 2018 after a disciplinary hearing for gross misconduct.