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Former heroin smuggler struck off for ignoring critically ill patient


Nikki Daly
posted on 30/08/2001
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A nurse convicted of heroin smuggling in the US has been struck off the UKCC register for turning off a patient's alarm and failing to call for help when his condition deteriorated.

The man, in his early thirties was left in a vegetative state and died 14 months later.

Angela Anunuso was supposed to be giving one-to-one care to a patient in the intensive therapy unit of the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, London in 1998. She had returned to the unit in the early hours after a tea break. An alarm went off when his breathing rate started to slow but she turned it off and failed to call doctors to deal with his deteriorating condition.

When the patient, known as Alex, collapsed and colleagues attempted to revive him, Ms Anunuso did nothing to help, the UKCC Professional Conduct Committee was told in London earlier this week.

The UKCC found her guilty of professional misconduct and she has been removed from the register.

It subsequently emerged that she had been convicted in Maryland, US in November 1989 for conspiracy to import heroin and was sentenced to eight years in jail

A spokesman for the Royal Free Hospital told national newspapers that when agency nurses were employed it was the agency's responsibility to run the appropriate checks.

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