Alcohol claims against nurse withdrawn

A former nursing home director is no longer facing claims she was drunk at work, but is continuing to be questioned over allegations she dumped pain relief and heart drugs instead of giving them to elderly patients.

Mary Elizabeth Mealy, 41, who is currently employed in the HSE’s elderly care services, is facing charges of professional misconduct relating to concerns during her time at private Co Longford nursing home Thomond Lodge in 2012.

A claim that she is unfit to practise due to alcohol issues has been withdrawn.

An Bord Altranais’s barrister, Patrick Leonard, said a psychiatrist’s report did not support the claim.

Dr John J O’Connor had been asked to examine if there were any alcohol issues in Ms Mealy’s history.

However, in a document including claims that cannot be reported for legal reasons, he said the defendant is adamant she does not drink.

Senior counsel for Ms Mealy, Ciaran Creavan, said given the serious nature of the alcohol allegation, it is “outrageous” that it was only removed after the claim had been heard in public.

Mr Creavan — who on Thursday was involved in a lengthy row with Thomond Lodge worker Patricia Ennis over the alcohol claims — said it is unacceptable the charge remained until now as Dr O’Connor’s report was made in March.

Ms Mealy still faces charges of professional misconduct due to allegations she dumped drugs instead of giving them to residents.

Clinical nurse manager Sarah Murray said she saw Ms Mealy with a large black plastic bag while giving drugs on August 22, 2012.

Ms Murray asked a cleaner to find the bag when it was dumped, and with facility owner Sean Kelly, photographed pain relief and heart drugs she said were for residents. Ms Murray said no medical chart suggested the drugs had not been given.

However, under cross-examination by Mr Creavan, she accepted there were record-keeping gaps at Thomond Lodge.

The hearing continues.


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