Stafford Patient Abuse: Worker Struck Off

Stafford Patient Abuse: Worker Struck Off

A health worker who was serving as an assistant at Stafford Hospital has been struck off after she dragged an elderly dementia patient around by his pyjamas and called him an animal.

Bonka Kostova, a Bulgarian-qualified midwife, was found to have physically and verbally abused the 73-year-old on a night shift in July 2010.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) said her fitness to practice was impaired.

"Bonka Kostova has been struck off the NMC register after all charges against her were found proved, and as a result her fitness to practise was found to be impaired," said an NMC spokeswoman.

Kostova, working as a healthcare support worker at the time, was found to have pushed the man, named only as patient A, into his wheelchair when he stood up, and to have pushed him into a bathroom and onto a toilet.

She then pulled the man out of the toilet using the collar of his pyjama top while his trousers were around his ankles and his genitals were exposed.

She shouted "I hate you" and "You are no longer a human being but an animal", or words to that effect, the NMC found.

Staff nurses Jane Wilkinson and Lucian Smith saw the incident and intervened, the hearing was told, taking Kostova into an office and telling her that her behaviour had been "unacceptable" and that they would report the incident.

Mrs Wilkinson, who wept as she recalled the incident to the tribunal this week, said Kostova was "losing it". She described her as hard-working, if at times abrupt with other members of staff.

Kostova, who was not present for the hearing, had received general training in looking after vulnerable adults but had not received specific training for dementia patients, ward manager Sharon Matthews told the tribunal.

She was suspended after the incident and has not worked at the hospital since, Mid Staffs Trust's medical director said.

A recent report into Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust found what it said was the "appalling and unnecessary" suffering of hundreds of patients between 2005 and 2009.

Some patients were left for hours sitting in their own faeces, food and drink was left out of reach and hygiene was so poor that relatives had to clean toilets themselves.

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