Nurse tells inquest of worries

LESS than a day after an operation to remove her gall bladder, Judith McNaught was complaining of pain and nausea.

That afternoon she was sent to the rehabilitation ward.

Four days later she died of massive organ failure.

The nurse in charge of the rehabilitation ward to which the 69-year-old was transferred took the witness stand yesterday in the inquest into Mrs McNaught's death in 2010.

Mariano Dulnuan said he would have sent the grandmother back to the surgical ward had he known how ill she was, but he did not see her chart when she arrived at his ward at 4.40pm.

Instead Mrs McNaught was not checked until 10pm and was not seen again for another 14 hours, when a doctor diagnosed her as being critically ill.

Mr Dulnuan said Mrs McNaught was medically unstable and should never have been sent to the rehabilitation ward.

"Decisions can be wrong," he said.

"I don't like to blame anybody...

"I would have questioned the wisdom of staff who sent the patient down."

Mr Dulnuan said he still had concerns about the way patients were being transferred.

The nurse of 18 years said it was very difficult for him to go through Mrs McNaught's chart as the only registered nurse, assisted by two non-registered nurses, caring for 16 patients in the rehabilitation ward.

Mr Dulnuan suggested ward transfers be in writing on one single document to better determine the health of a patient.

The inquest will adjourn today and reconvene in May.

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