'nurse's Actions Hastened Deaths'



    12:00 - 18 May 2004

    A Nursing sister, accused of attempting to murder four elderly patients, ordered a dying man to be lain flat, a course of action which probably would have hastened his death, a court 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 Leighton Hospital nurse Annie Denson in relation to an incident which she alleges happened in February, 2002.

    The court heard that elderly patient Edwin Everett was admitted to ward four at Leighton from accident and emergency after suffering chest pains and breathlessness in February, 2002.

    Ms Denson claimed that, after a particularly difficult night, with the patient suffering extreme distress, she overheard Salisbury instruct a colleague to lie him flat.

    Robin Spencer, prosecuting, asked Ms Denson: "That was an instruction you were being given, why didn't you follow it?"

    To which she replied: "Because it would have been far too stressful for Mr Everett.

    "He needed to be sat upright so that he could breathe."

    Mr Spencer said: "What do you think would happen if you did lie him down?" Ms Denson replied: "He would have been in a great deal of distress and he would have died uncomfortably."

    Ms Denson had earlier told the court of another alleged incident involving 86-year-old Lilia Hillier.

    She claimed that Salisbury had told her to lie the poorly woman flat and lose the oxygen - actions that she said would have killed the woman.

    Ms Denson also claimed that she had come to the assistance of senior care worker Lee Evans after he claimed to have found patient Reuben Thompson lying flat with his oxygen removed by Salisbury between February 3 and March 14, 2002, during a late shift.

    But Peter Birkett, defending Salisbury, said yesterday that detailed records showed Ms Denson had never been on a late shift during the period of Mr Thompson's stay in hospital.

    Mr Birkett said to Ms Denson: "Are you sure it happened?"

    To which she replied: "It's imprinted on my mind."

    Mr Birkett continued: "On a late shift? On this patient?" She replied: "On this patient, on a late shift and God knows I'm telling the truth."

    The trial continues.
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