An 85-year-old male patient died at Nepean Private Hospital in Kingswood, Sydney after his nurse disconnected his heart monitor to FaceTime her family.
The nurse, Geraldine Lumbo Dizon, was working the night shift on July 29 when she received a call from her relatives and switched off the sound to the monitor without informing the doctors.
She failed to provide treatment for the patient, who had renal and heart failure, while she was on the call. After her shift, medics were left stumped by the patient’s failing health because she’d failed to plug the monitor back in.
The New South Wales Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal found Dizon guilty of professional misconduct and unsatisfactory professional conduct.
In its concluding decision, the tribunal ruled that nursing and medical staff could not hear the alarm because the telemetry alarm speakers were still disconnected. The heart monitor showed that the patient was bradycardia [slow heartbeat] at 7:07 am on July 30, 2021, and he was discovered dead in his bed around 10 minutes later.
Dizon had argued that she had turned off the sound of the monitor because it was confusing other patients, who were mistaking it for the ring of a doorbell.
She claimed she was checking on her family in the Philippines and said she didn’t notify other staff because she wasn’t “good at ECG reading.”
CCTV revealed that Dizon was speaking with her family 15 minutes before the patient’s heart began to slow, and that in total she was on the phone for 66 minutes.
She was also supposed to regularly check on her patients, but the footage showed that she only did so once during her 10-hour shift.