Nurse faces four charges of harming patients

A NURSE accused of assaulting and wrongly medicating two patients, one of whom died, at Naas General Hospital has been sent forward for trial to the Circuit Criminal Court.

Noreen Mulholland will face four charges of harming to John Gethings, now deceased, and Seamus

Doherty, when she appears before Naas Circuit Criminal Court on November 16.

The date was set by Judge Murrough Connellan at the District Court yesterday where a Book of Evidence running to three volumes was served, indicating the prosecution’s readiness to proceed.

Judge Connellan granted an application on Ms Mulholland’s behalf to have her legal aid extended to cover the services of a senior counsel and junior counsel as well as a solicitor due to the volume and nature of evidence involved.

Ms Mulholland, who has been on bail since she was charged last May, attended yesterday’s hearing accompanied by two female companions.

The 33-year-old agency nurse, who has an address in Kildare town but is living in the North, is charged on four counts under the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act.

She is accused of assaulting Mr Gethings, causing him harm at Naas General Hospital on March 1, 2003, and with intentionally or recklessly administering to him a substance which she knew to be capable of interfering substantially with his bodily functions on the same date.

She is also charged with the same two offences against another patient, Seamus Doherty, at the same hospital between June 18 and June 19, 2003. She is denying the charges.

Inspector Pat Mangan told the court he had no difficulty with the defendant’s bail conditions remaining the same until her trial.

The court was told she had complied with an order to hand over her British and Irish passports to the inspector.

She had also been told to sign on at Portadown police station on Mondays and Fridays between 9am and 9pm and it was agreed that she would continue to do so.

Mr Gethings, who was 77 and from Baltinglass, Co Wicklow, died at Naas Hospital on March 1 last year and his remains were exhumed from Baltinglass Cemetery four months later as part of the garda investigation.

Ms Mulholland was suspended from duty around the same time and has not worked as a nurse since. The investigation was prompted by a complaint from the South Western Area Health Board, which runs the hospital.

The inquest into the death of Mr Gethings, which opened almost a year ago but has been repeatedly adjourned, is due before the Kildare county coroner’s court again next Monday.

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