An 87-year-old dementia patient was left screaming for help after a senior nurse “lost his cool”, a tribunal has found.
An 87-year-old dementia patient was left screaming for help after a senior nurse “lost his cool”, a tribunal has found. Obencem

Frail elderly dementia patient dragged along floor

A senior Adelaide nurse "lost his cool" and dragged an 87-year-old dementia patient 10 metres along the floor as she protested and screamed for help, a tribunal has found.

Gary Scott Anderson, 62, was working as a nurse unit manager for the Southern Adelaide Local Health Network (SALHN) when the incident occurred in May 2019.

He was a registered nurse at Flinders Medical Centre for about 25 years prior to the incident and had been involved in training staff on management of aggressive or threatening clients.

The South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal found that, on a "difficult day on the ward", Anderson tried to redirect the elderly woman down the corridor "using some physical force".

The patient grabbed hold of a stair rail.

"(Anderson) attempted to remove her hands from the rail and the patient slid to the floor," a published judgment said.

"(He) then dragged the patient by her arms or wrists … for a distance of approximately 10 metres.

"He did so against the patient's will and regardless of her protests and screams for help."

The elderly woman was left distressed and crying after the incident and complained of sore wrists.

The tribunal said Anderson's actions were "totally unnecessary" and the circumstances did not warrant moving the patient in that manner.

He was suspended from work on pay for a period before he was terminated by the SALHN in May this year. He has not worked as a nurse since.

The tribunal found Anderson "lost his cool".

It said he had recently begun treatment for aggressive prostate cancer, which could explain but did not excuse the conduct.

"There is (appropriately) great concern in our community about abuse of the elderly and the vulnerable," the judgment read.

The tribunal found that, despite Anderson's exemplary and unblemished record leading up to the incident, his actions constituted "serious professional misconduct".

It suspended him for six months, three of which have already been served, and ordered that he complete an education program and pay $2000 towards the cost of the proceedings.

Originally published as 87yo dementia patient dragged along floor