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|Ebola nurse Pauline Cafferkey 'not dishonest', hearing told by Idowu Olabode : September 13, 2016, 05:16:34 PM|
A Scots nurse who survived Ebola may not face charges of dishonesty at a misconduct hearing, it has emerged.
Pauline Cafferkey, 40, was infected while working in Sierra Leone in 2014.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) had alleged Ms Cafferkey allowed a wrong temperature to be recorded when she returned to Heathrow and she left a screening area without flagging it up.
But it said she had no case to answer over dishonesty and her judgement may have been impaired due to illness.
The panel at the conduct and competence committee is yet to decide whether to accept the NMC's move to have the dishonesty allegation dropped.
During Tuesday's morning session, the panel heard that the screening area at Heathrow airport was "busy, disorganised and even chaotic" when Ms Cafferkey and other medics arrived back from Sierra Leone.
The agreed facts in the case, as presented to the panel, show that the nurse's temperature was recorded twice by a doctor at Heathrow, in the presence of "registrant A", at more than 38C.
The doctor claims that "registrant A stated at this point that she would record the temperature as 37.2C on Ms Cafferkey's screening form and then they would 'get out of there and sort it out'".
The agreed facts show that Ms Cafferkey stated that she recalled the words "let's get out of here" being used but could not remember who said it or who entered the temperature on her screening form.
The panel was told that Ms Cafferkey accepted that her temperature had been measured at above 38C yet allowed a reading of 37.2C to be recorded on her screening form, after which she continued to the arrivals area.
It was heard that a temperature above 37.5C "is an elevated or pyrexial (feverish) temperature that requires further assessment and should be reported to a consultant".
'Severe viral load'
Ms Cafferkey admitted taking paracetamol at some point after she realised she had an elevated temperature.
When she returned to the screening area, the doctor who examined her found her temperature to be normal and cleared the nurse to fly back to Scotland.
The panel heard that hours later she was diagnosed with one of the most severe viral loads of Ebola ever recorded.
Doctors said early symptoms would have impaired her judgement and that there was no evidence she had been deliberately dishonest to staff.
The hearing will resume later on Tuesday.
Earlier, the panel heard submissions on whether the two-day hearing should be held in private.
Ms Cafferkey's lawyer, Joyce Cullen, called for it to take place behind closed door to protect her client.
She said the hearing would examine "confidential matters" about Ms Cafferkey's health and her client had moved out of her home due to "intrusive" attention from the media.
The NMC did not object to the hearing being held in private, as long as the agreed facts were released at its conclusion.
Following an objection from assembled sections of the media, the NMC decided to hear the charges against Ms Cafferkey and an agreed statement of facts.
It will decide later whether the full hearing should be held in private.
Speaking last month, Ms Cafferkey said the "full facts" would be shared with the panel.
"Those facts, that have not yet been made public, will be considered by the panel as part of its review of all relevant information," she said.
"I would very much hope that after the case has been considered by the panel the matter will be at an end."
The NMC had originally alleged that Ms Cafferkey "allowed an incorrect temperature to be recorded" on 28 December 2014 and intended to conceal from Public Health England staff that she had a temperature higher than 38C.
The nurse, from Halfway, Cambuslang, contracted the virus while working as part of a British team at the Kerry Town Ebola treatment centre in 2014.
She spent almost a month in isolation at the Royal Free at the beginning of 2015 after the virus was detected when she arrived back in the UK.
Ms Cafferkey was later discharged after apparently making a full recovery, and in March 2015 returned to work as a public health nurse at Blantyre Health Centre in South Lanarkshire.
In October last year it was discovered that Ebola was still present in her body, with health officials later confirming she had been diagnosed with meningitis caused by the virus.
However in the months that followed, her health suffered as she had issues with her thyroid, her hair fell out and she had headaches and pains in her joints.
But Ms Cafferkey stressed that she felt lucky because she had not lost her sight as others had done.
Source : BBC
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