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Orthopaedic nurse sent sexually-explicit texts to bed-bound patient

Published date: 21 July 2014 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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A MALE nurse who posed as a woman to send rude text messages to a patient asking for intimate pictures has been struck off.

Philip Charles Pugh was working at the Orthopaedic Hospital in Gobowen when he accessed the male patient’s telephone number from records and sent him sexually explicit text messages.
Pugh was charged with obtaining Patient A’s mobile telephone number for use in non-clinical activity; sending inappropriate mobile telephone text messages and/or WhatsApp messages to Patient A. All charges were proved.

The bemused patient was told he was ‘well fit’ and a ‘stud’ by the admirer who called himself ‘Jodie’ during his stay at the hospital in April, last year.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council heard during a two-day hearing last week that Pugh – who had been looking after the patient – begged him not to tell after he was recognised through the sender’s Whatsapp profile image.
Pugh was suspended immediately and an internal investigation found that he intended the messages as a ‘joke’ and a ‘prank.’ He was dismissed on the grounds of gross misconduct following a disciplinary hearing.
The patient was at the hospital as part of a two-week stay being treated for back and spinal injuries when he received the solicitous messages which Pugh said were from ‘an admirer’.
The patient replied but then identified the nurse through his Whatsapp profile.

Upon realising he had been found out, Pugh begged for forgiveness and sent a text message saying: “I’m so sorry, I’m crying my eyes out in the car.”
He admitted inappropriately obtaining the patient’s number and sending him text and Whatsapp messages, but denied this was for a sexual purpose.

Panel chairman Sara Nathan said the patient has been “distressed and upset” and that he felt “degraded” and that his “privacy had been exposed” by the ‘inappropriate’ messages.
She said Mr Pugh had abused a position of trust and his actions brought the nursing profession into disrepute.
The panel found that Pugh obtained Patient A’s number for non-clinical purposes, sent him inappropriate messages and that his actions were sexually motivated.
He was struck off from the nursing profession.
 

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