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British Hospital Suspends Nigerian Nurse for Chatting On Phone At Work

Posted by Roland Ogbonnaya With Agency Report on 2009/01/09 | Views: 705 |

British Hospital Suspends Nigerian Nurse for Chatting On Phone At Work

A British hospital has suspended a Nigerian-born nurse for allegedly chatting on her mobile phone while administering blood test on a patient.

Lagos A British hospital has suspended a Nigerian-born nurse for allegedly chatting on her mobile phone while administering blood test on a patient.

According to the London-based Daily Mail on Monday, Calista Ukaegbu was said to have used hand signals to tell the woman patient what to do while she was so engrossed in her conversation.

When the patient made her displeasure clear to the nurse, she said 'sorry' but carried on with the call. She only stopped the conversation when a colleague walked in and made it clear that she should hang up, the report claimed.

However the management of Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in Woolwich, South East London, confirmed they had suspended Miss Ukaegbu earlier this month after a complaint was made about her 'unprofessional' behaviour.

Ukaegbu, it is understood arrived in Britain from Nigeria and was qualified to work in British hospitals in March 2002.

The incident took place earlier this year, when an unnamed female patient in her thirties visited the hospital's Women's Department. The woman needed to have a blood test and some measurements taken for some minor surgery that was due to take place at a later date.

The patient claimed she was greeted by Ukaegbu who was talking on her mobile phone in a foreign language.

The nurse indicated that the woman should roll up her sleeve to allow her blood pressure to be taken. She then took the readings and later pointed to indicate that she should measure herself against a wall chart. The telephone conversation lasted for at least six minutes, it was alleged.

Poor attitude to work by medical staff-including doctors and nurses in both Nigeria and England has been on the increase, an act that has been condemned by the public. In Nigeria for example, patients have been left to bleed to death or have complications because of the ineptitude on the part of medical staff.

The patient is a relative of former newspaper editor and radio station owner Kelvin Mackenzie. She does not want to be identified but Mr Mackenzie said: "Incredibly, for six minutes this nurse held a social conversation on her mobile phone while indicating to my relative through hand signals what to do.

"All this went on while this nurse continued with her conversation with a friend... it was quite clear it was a social conversation from the tone of her voice. It had nothing to do with work.

"The conversation was in a foreign language - but that is irrelevant. I just cannot believe the nurse was concentrating on the job she was supposed to be doing whilst talking to a friend on the phone," Mackenzie was quoted Daily Mail.

Mackenzie revealed that his relative had suffered from high blood pressure in the past and would have liked to enquire about her recent reading. But this was denied her as the nurse kept on with the conversation.

He said: "The mobile conversation only came to an end when another nurse came into the room and stood there looking at Ukaegbu on the phone. The second nurse said nothing but effectively shamed the nurse into terminating the call and


He said "I think the whole episode is symptomatic of a malaise in society. In hospitals there are so many managers but not really people to manage with such incidents. It was humiliating for my relative to have the blood test carried out in this way."

Details of the incident emerged just weeks after staff at the hospital were reminded of the 'correct standards of behaviour' when dealing with patients.

On Monday, a source said the management of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital was taking the matter 'very seriously', adding: "It sends completely the wrong message about how we are supposed to look after people."

Medical professionals have found that mobile phones used in hospitals can cause electromagnetic interference with some medical devices. Some hospitals ask that mobile phones are not used near critical care areas.

When the Daily Mail contacted her at her home in Woolwich, she said: "I have nothing to say about this issue. I am not happy you have contacted me at my home. Please leave me alone."

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