Cork care home nurse 'admitted forging colleague's signature in drugs register'

The nurse faces 21 allegations of failing to meet professional standards of competence while at the CareChoice nursing home in Montenotte
Cork care home nurse 'admitted forging colleague's signature in drugs register'

It is alleged that the nurse under-administered or did not administer certain medications in respect of four residents at the nursing home. File picture

An inquiry investigating the alleged professional misconduct of a nurse in Cork has been told that the accused has admitted forging a colleague’s signature in the controlled drugs register.

Carmelita Bacani, aged 52, faces 21 allegations of failing to meet professional standards of competence while employed as a staff nurse at the CareChoice nursing home in Montenotte, Cork city during 2017.

It is alleged that Ms Bacani, a single mother originally from the Philippines, under-administered or did not administer certain medications in respect of four residents at the nursing home. It is also alleged that she falsified colleagues’ initials in the controlled drugs register when giving controlled drugs to two other residents on numerous occasions and failed to check those drugs with a second nurse, as is required.

Giving evidence, Ms Bacani’s former colleague, nurse Gigi Thomas, told counsel for the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI), Lorna Lynch, that she had asked Ms Becani about the matter when she was made aware her initials had allegedly been forged in the controlled drugs register for a ward where she was not working.

Ms Thomas said: “I asked her to meet me on my ward. I asked her about the initials and I told her I wasn’t working that night. I asked her did she write my initials in the drug register and at first she didn’t say anything. Then she said ‘I’m sorry Gigi’. 

She said she was feeling uneasy and so flushed so I didn’t have much of a conversation with her after that but she admitted it.

Seven of Ms Bacani’s former nursing colleagues at CareChoice Montenotte: Geofryia George, Ciara O’Regan, Lincy Thomas Pazhia, Weronika Nycz, Urszulu O’Riordan, Soniya Anoop and Gigi Thomas all gave evidence to the committee of inquiry that their initials had been forged in the controlled drugs on numerous dates in 2017.

Katriona Fermin, a Clinical Nurse Manager at CareChoice in 2017, said that management had first become aware there was an issue with Ms Bacani’s conduct in relation to the under-administration of drugs to two residents in June 2017. 

Ms Fermin said that Ms Bacani had administered an insufficient dose of the painkiller Oramorph to one patient and NovoRapid (for diabetes) to another. She said that Ms Bacani was apologetic at the time and was asked to complete a medicines management course to refresh her knowledge which she did in late June. 

Ms Fermin said that following an evening drug round on July 8, 2017, she discovered that medications for four patients were not administered by Ms Bacani even though she had signed off on them. Ms Bacani told Ms Fermin that she had been called away from the drug round by a colleague and had then forgotten about it.

Ms Fermin said that following this incident further issues came to light with the controlled drugs register and a full investigation was initiated by the then Director of Nursing at the home, Joanne Williams.

The hearing was adjourned to reconvene on December 2 next to hear expert testimony.

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