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Nurse is sanctioned after hitting a patient

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A ‘KIND-natured’ and ‘professional’ nurse at Overdale Hospital has been sanctioned for misconduct by the nursing watchdog after he hit a patient.

Overdale Hospital. Picture: JON GUEGAN (21533621)

Benjamin Tuazon Balanon Jr was found by the Nursing and Midwifery Council to have hit the vulnerable patient while he was working on the Samarès Ward at Overdale in 2009.

He was also found to have failed to have properly helped another patient and to have spoken to her in an inappropriate manner in a separate incident two years ago.

Mr Balanon, who has been a registered nurse since 1995, denied a total of five charges. The NMC ruled that there was no case to answer in three of them.

The panel found that Mr Balanon, who no longer works for the Health Department, had failed in his duties as a nurse and that his ‘fitness to practice was currently impaired’. He was given a five-year caution order – which does not restrict a nurse’s ability to practise but is recorded – for the offences.

At a hearing last month, the NMC ruled that Mr Balanon had instinctively hit out at the woman – referred to as Patient A – while feeding her.

The NMC heard evidence from colleagues of Mr Balanon, who said the nurse had struck the patient in January 2009.

Documents from the NMC hearing said: ‘The panel recognised the difficult circumstances you were working in.

‘Patient A had complex needs, was exhibiting volatile and aggressive behaviour and you were not sufficiently equipped with the appropriate skills and knowledge to manage her condition.

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‘It also acknowledged your account that your response was “instinctive”. The panel considered that as an experienced nurse, with familiarity of working with challenging patients, you should have known that Patient A could have lashed out at you and therefore it was your duty to respond in an appropriate and responsible manner.’

The NMC also heard that in January 2016 Mr Balanon had failed to fully assist a patient out of bed in the middle of the night and had told her, ‘I’m not supposed to help, you won’t go home if you don’t do it, you will end up in a nursing home’.

Mr Balanon accepted that he had made the comments, but argued that he had done so in the best interests of the patient following a conversation with her occupational therapist, who had asked the nurse to ‘encourage her independence’. He said that he was working within the remits of the patient’s care plan by only partially assisting her.

The ruling said: ‘The panel took into account that you qualified as a registered nurse in 1995 and these are the only two incidents in your career.

‘The panel acknowledged the significant number of detailed and positive testimonials provided by you from past and recent employers and colleagues attesting your kind nature, clinical ability and professionalism.’

However, the NMC found Mr Balanon guilty of misconduct and issued the five-year caution.

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