NURSE TOLD TO TURN PATIENT'S OXYGEN OFF
12:00 - 15 May 2004
A nursing sister accused of attempting to murder four elderly patients told a colleague to turn off the oxygen supply of a dying woman, a court has heard. Barbara Salisbury, aged 47, of Pontybodkin, near Mold, formerly of Shavington, denies attempting to murder four elderly patients between May 1999 and May 2002.
Chester Crown Court yesterday heard evidence from Nurse Annie Denson, who still works at Leighton Hospital in Crewe, describing an incident that allegedly took place on Christmas Day, 2001.
She said she told Salisbury that she wanted to move Lilia Hillier, aged 86, from ward four to a side room for privacy, as it appeared the patient was close to death and Ms Denson wanted to call her family.
Salisbury allegedly replied: "Lie her flat and lose the oxygen."
Ms Denson said: "She said it matter of factly. I was shocked and couldn't believe what she had said. I obviously ignored her instructions because I knew it wasn't right."
Robin Spencer, QC, prosecuting, asked: "What do you think the consequences would have been if you had followed her instructions?"
Ms Denson replied: "She would have died."
The court heard earlier in the day how a key witness in the trial withdrew a comment he made in a statement to police on May 29, 2002.
Lee Evans, a senior care worker at Leighton Hospital, told police at the time that Salisbury had told him that she had removed the oxygen supply and pillows of Reuben Thompson before finding him choking on his saliva between February 3 and March 14, 2002.
Mr Evans said when he re-read the statement he had made on May 6 this year he noticed what he had previously said and informed the police that the statement was incorrect but he denied lying to police.
Mr Spencer asked him if he changed his statement once the trial had started because he got "cold feet"?
Mr Evans said: "It was a long time ago when I wrote the original statement. The statement I made was incorrect and if I had read it earlier then I would have chased it up with the police."
Peter Birkett, defending Salisbury, asked Mr Evans about the period of time that the alleged incidents are said to have taken place.
He produced copies of the rota originating from the period and said it showed that on no shift during that time were himself, Salisbury and Ms Denson - the three people Mr Evans said were working together at the time - actually on the same shift.
He said: "The records suggest, did they not, that the incident could not have happened."
He also said that medical records showed that Mr Thompson was at no time receiving oxygen therapy.
Mr Evans replied: "It did happen and he was receiving oxygen. It must be bad documentation by my colleagues. I am telling the truth, hand on my heart."
The trial continues.