I Was Scared Of Salisbury - Nurse



    12:00 - 07 May 2004

    A Machine pumping drugs into the body of an elderly patient being cared for by a nursing sister accused of attempted murder ran out more than six hours before the dose was due to be completed, a court heard. The Graseby device used to treat 76-year-old James Byrne at Leighton Hospital ran out of diamorphine after 17 hours and 45 minutes, Chester Crown Court was told yesterday.

    Nurse Barbara Salisbury, aged 47, of Pontybodkin, near Mold, formerly of Shavington, denies attempting to murder four elderly patients while working at Leighton.

    The court was told medical records showed the machine ran out of diamorphine at 8.15am on May 18, 1999, after the dose started at 4.55pm the previous day.

    Medical expert Anthony Moore, clinical governance manager at Sheffield NHS Trust, told the court the machine would have run out of the drugs if the syringe was damaged, but said he had only ever seen four or five damaged syringes in his whole career.

    Mr Moore said that if the drugs had run out as a result of the booster being pressed, then he would estimate the button would have been pushed 76 times.

    The court has heard Salisbury was seen pressing the booster like she was "playing space invaders" by a nurse working with her on the nightshift.

    Peter Birkett QC, defending, argued Mr Moore's calculation was based on the assumption that the nurses had set up the machine correctly.

    Mr Birkett also asked Debbie Cooke, a former nurse at Leighton who signed the medical records showing the dose had run out, why she did not tell anyone about it. Ms Cooke replied: "I can't remember how I felt - it was over five years ago"

    Earlier in the day, nurse Jane Booth - who has told the jury she saw Salisbury repeatedly pressing the booster on the Graseby device and tell Mr Byrne "give in, it's time to go" - was cross-examined by Mr Birkett.

    Mr Birkett asked why she did not alert the authorities to the alleged incident involving the Graseby.

    Mrs Booth replied: "I was scared. Scared that I couldn't back it up, I was scared of the repercussions. To be truthful I was frightened of her."

    Mr Birkett suggested to Mrs Booth that she did not see the alleged incident as attempted murder at the time because, if she had, she would have alerted the authorities.

    Mr Byrne was admitted to Leighton on May 6, 1999, following a stroke.

    He was unconscious when he was admitted and did not regain consciousness before his death on May 20.

    The trial continues.

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