Ebola Virus Nurse Pauline Cafferkey will today offer proof at the tribunal of a doctor who agrees ‘misleading’ other health experts in relation to the nurse’s temperature before she became seriously sick with ebola.
Public health nurse Ms Cafferkey was with Doctor Hannah Ryan and another nurse, Donna Wood, on their return from Sierra Leone in the year of December 2014 after volunteering during an outbreak of the virus in West Africa.
While waiting to be screened for the Ebola virus, at Heathrow Airport by health experts from Public Health England (PHE), Dr Ryan took Ms Cafferkey’s temperature, the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service heard on the day of Monday. The reading was 38.2°C – above the 37.5°C threshold for further assessment to rule out infectious ailment.
Dr Ryan informed the hearing that she was in ‘disbelief, fear and panic’ at the raised reading and rather than alerting PHE staff, a lower temperature of 37.2°C was recorded.
Ebola Virus Nurse Ms Cafferkey was then permitted to catch a connecting flight to Glasgow to travel home. She fell seriously sick the next day and tested positive for the Ebola virus.
Dr Ryan has agreed misleading others and that she ‘acquiesced’ in the wrong temperature being given, but denies misconduct in her actions at the airport and during a subsequent inquiry by PHE.
Ebola Virus Nurse Ms Cafferkey will give proof at the tribunal in the area of Manchester.
In September previous year, Ms Cafferkey was cleared of misconduct following an inquiry by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) into whether she hid symptoms of ebola virus. The panel ruled that Ms Cafferkey, from Cambuslang, South Lanarkshire, hadn’t set out to mislead PHE screening staff at the airport, and that the early symptoms of ebola would have impaired her judgment.
Fellow nurse Ms Wood was given a 2-month suspension by the NMC in November. She was discovered to have concealed Ms Cafferkey’s temperature after recommending a lower temperature be recorded so they could pass through the screening process more quickly. Panel chair Najrul Khasru said Ms Wood’s actions were ‘an isolated tragedy in an otherwise long and unblemished career’.
The tribunal of Dr Ryan continues.
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