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September 08, 2022

Nurse Struck Off For Giving Placebo To Brain Tumour Patient

A nurse who admitted giving a patient a placebo instead of morphine has been struck off. The nurse gave a brain tumour patient sugar and water instead of morphine.

The nurse Vijayan Rajoo, who worked at St Fillians care home in Colchester, Essex felt the man did not need the pain relief as was told to a misconduct hearing.

A Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) panel said the actions of the nurse showed a "serious lack of compassion". Additionally, Excelcare which runs the care home said they found Mr Rajoo failed in "keystones" of their approach to care.

He has since been struck off the register but has 28 days to make an appeal against the decision.

Following an internal investigation in 2019 where it was alleged that Mr Rajoo on more than one occasion had given the patient sugar and water instead of oral morphine between November 2018 and June 2019, and also failed to make a note of doing so, he was referred to the NMC by the care home provider, Excelcare.

In addition to giving the placebo to the patient, it was alleged that he failed to check the contents of the controlled drug cupboard on one or more occasions in June 2019, despite signing to say he had.

Mr Rajoo told a manager at the care home he felt the patient did not have need for the morphine.

Mr Rajoo during an internal investigation admitted not checking the cupboard "probably due to laziness" and failing to give the patient the prescribed morphine.

The manager told the hearing that Mr Rajoo told her he did not give morphine to the patient when he asked for it because he "felt he did not need it" but instead gave the patient a sugar and water solution and told the patient it was the painkiller.

The manager said: "[The patient] did say it didn't taste right and after Vijay telling me this it made sense.”

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) panel said that withholding pain relief from a vulnerable patient with a learning difficulty showed a lack of compassion and understanding.

A spokeswoman for Excelcare commended the actions of other team members at the care home who picked up on and reported the actions of Mr Rajoo, which resulted in an internal investigation and subsequent NMC misconduct hearing.

According to her; "Compassion, professionalism and truth are keystones of our approach to all care, our investigation found these to be lacking in this case."

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