Nurse 'tried to kill patients'
By Valentine Low, Evening Standard
28 April 2004
A hospital nurse was so obsessed with "ruthless efficiency" that she tried to kill four elderly patients to free their beds, a court heard today.
Barbara Salisbury was even heard urging one patient "give in, it's time to go", as she administered an overdose, prosecuting barrister Robin Spencer QC told the jury at Chester Crown Court.
Determined to get patients off her ward quickly - alive or dead - she "overstepped the line between humane nursing and callous dispatch", taking it upon herself to hasten the death of the four very ill patients at Leighton Hospital, Crewe, Mr Spencer said.
Salisbury, 47, from Pontybodkin, north Wales, who was working as a ward sister, denies four counts of attempted murder against Reuben Thompson, 81, Frank Owen, 92, James Byrne, 76, and Frances May Taylor, 88. The alleged offences took place between 1999 and 2001.
Mr Spencer said Salisbury tried to kill Mr Byrne and Mrs Taylor by "unnecessary and inappropriate" administration of diamorphine.
The court heard she was seen repeatedly pressing the booster button on the device delivering the drug to Mr Byrne and telling him: "Give in, it's time to go."
Mr Spencer said Salisbury tried to kill Mr Owen and Mr Thompson by lying them on their backs to drown in their own secretions. In Mr Owen's case, she told a fellow nurse: "With any luck his lungs will fill with fluid and he will die."
Salisbury was reported to police by other nurses at the hospital. Mr Spencer told the jury: " Barbara Salisbury arrogated to herself the right to decide when [patients] should die.
"She does not suggest these were attempts at mercy killing. The allegations, she says, are quite simply untrue."
He added: "If the patient could be made well enough to be discharged she would aim for that, if not she would hasten death. One way or another she wanted these patients off her ward." The trial continues.
Apr 30, '04
Mental illness is the cause in many of these cases. Sometimes,as in bi-polar,the person can be very intelligent,pleasant and charming.The next minute their mind does a 180.This nurse, I suspect, was almost compulsive about numbers of patients in her head, and placing them in two catagories.Either your butt was going to get better and get out, or....your dead! sad but true,may the nurse get help, so she can understand one day her decisions.
Last edit by stbernardclub on Apr 30, '04