The Malta Independent 27 October 2016, Thursday

Nurse who allegedly beat disabled patient at Mount Carmel’s youth residence to be charged

Duncan Barry Monday, 4 January 2016, 09:01 Last update: about 11 months ago

A male nurse who allegedly beat a 10-year-old boy at the Youth Residence in Mount Carmel Hospital in September last year is to be charged in court later this month, The Malta Independent can confirm.

Reliable sources confirmed with this newsroom that they are informed that the nurse will soon be charged in court. The story came to light after this newsroom spoke to the mother of the alleged victim - Marvy Casha. The boy who was allegedly abused suffers from muscular dystrophy and also has a behavioural problem.

The abuse allegedly took place during the first night the boy spent at the recently inaugurated wing of the hospital.

Contacted by The Malta Independent, Mt Carmel CEO Clifton Grima said that the two internal inquiries which looked into the case – one carried out by Mt Carmel Hospital and another inquiry led by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry responsible for Mt Carmel – found that there was no prima facie evidence that showed the nurse engaged in any wrongdoings.

Sources close to the internal investigations said the nurse is insisting that he did not lay a finger on the boy. A nursing aide, who is considered by the hospital’s management as a reliable person and who claims to have been present when the child was being treated in the youth wing, has also insisted that the nurse in question did not harm the patient.

But an investigation carried out by the police will be leading to the arraignment of the nurse.

Muscular dystrophy

Ms Casha’s son suffers from muscular dystrophy, which is a hereditary disease marked by progressive wasting and weakening of the muscles, and ADHD. As a result of having muscular dystrophy, he began losing the ability to walk in January 2015 and has become wheelchair-bound. He also suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which can make his behaviour challenging and difficult at times.

Ms Casha said that on Monday, 7 September she took her son for a routine check-up with a consultant. She was concerned because the medication that had recently been prescribed to her son was having a negative effect on his behaviour.

Mount Carmel

The consultant advised her to send her son to the Youth Residence ward at Mount Carmel, to keep him under observation while halting treatment. He was taken to the hospital the very same day and was left under the care of the nurses for the night.

Ms Casha said that this was the first time her son had spent a night away from her, stating that because of his condition she had always kept a close and watchful eye on him.  She said she had called the hospital several times to make sure that all was ok.

The following afternoon at around 4pm, Ms Casha went to visit her son during visiting hours. She said he immediately burst into tears and told her about the events that had transpired the previous night. The first words that came out of his mouth, according to his mother were, “Hawnhekk post li jsawtu.” (Here they beat people).

The boy told his mother that a nurse had beaten him. He admitted insulting the nurse but said that he was exposed to abuse and humiliation and beatings.

Inquiry report recommends CCTV cameras are installed

Sources close to Mt Carmel told this newsroom that the inquiry reports included a set of recommendations for the hospital to take up, including the installation of CCTV cameras. Sources also explained that until now, the nurse is still working at the hospital after he had been transferred to another ward. He was never suspended pending the results of the inquiries. It is not yet known whether the nurse would be suspended in the light of further police action.

Both the internal inquiries were ordered by Mr Grima.

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