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August 22, 2012

Care Home Worker Drugged 6 Dementia Patients (UK)

Southern Cross care home worker drugged six dementia patients 'so she could get a good night's sleep'
•    Mirela Aionoaei, 37, accused of using unprescribed anti-insomnia, anti-depressant and anti-psychotic pills on patients
•    Court hears patients at the west London care home often had to be taken to bed in wheelchairs after the doses

By Leon Watson
21 August 2012

A senior carer at a Southern Cross nursing home drugged six dementia patients with anti-insomnia, anti-depressant and anti-psychotic pills so she could get a good night's sleep during her shift, a jury was told yesterday.
The patients, four women and two men, who usually wandered around during the night, often had to be taken to bed in wheelchairs after the unprescribed doses and were unsteady on their feet and suffered slurred speech.
Mirela Aionoaei, 37, of Hayes, west London, routinely shoved two chairs together to form a makeshift bed during the night shift and drugged the patients to ensure she would not be disturbed, Harrow Crown Court heard.

'The residents were being poisoned, of that there is no doubt,' said prosecutor Guy Dilliway-Parry. 'The defendant liked to sleep when on duty. Why else put two chairs together?
'She was seen to administer on many occasions over a considerable period of time and the residents would fall asleep almost straight away.
'A sleep so deep they would have to be taken to their beds in wheelchairs.'
 Aionoaei has pleaded not guilty to six counts of administering a poison or noxious substance to the six residents of Ashwood Care Centre, in Hayes, between July 1 and December 31, 2010.
There were twenty-two residents on the dementia ward - aged between 58 and over 100-years-old - and Aionoaei was the senior member of staff in charge and the only one permitted to dispense medicine as a trained and authorised health professional.
'They all suffered from mental health conditions that left them vulnerable and unaware of their surroundings,' explained Mr Dilliway-Parry. 'They could do very little for themselves.
Mirela Aionoaei is on trial at Harrow Crown Court where a jury was told she drugged six dementia patients
'Some would walk around at night and needed hourly checks, but Aionoaei would put two chairs together and go to sleep, even if the residents were walking around.
'Her priority seemed to get some sleep herself.'
A suspicious colleague began observing Aionoaei because the residents only became excessively drowsy when she was on duty and she was keen to get them into bed only 30 minutes into her shift.
'The residents were being poisoned, of that there is no doubt.'
Prosecutor Guy Dilliway-Parry
'She was observed approaching residents with a glass of orange juice in one hand and observed putting a small cream-coloured tablet in the residents' mouths and they would all be asleep within five to eight minutes.
'She had taken something from the pocket of her overalls and the drugs trolley remained untouched in the nurse’s station.
'Other staff noticed the residents were very sleepy after being administered medication by Aionoaei. They would be unsteady on their feet and slur their words more than usual.'
On January 31, last year the suspicions were reported to police and hair samples were taken from a total of nine residents - one at their post mortem - and six returned positive for the presence of unprescribed drugs.
Among them were a fast-acting sleeping pill, which usually works for six hours, a drug prescribed to patients with depression and panic attacks, which has a side-effect of drowsiness and an anti-psychotic drug used to treat restlessness.
'They were detected in the hair samples and had been administered over a considerable period of time,' added the prosecutor. 'It shows they were being drugged.'
When questioned by police Aionoaei admitted pushing two chairs together, but denied she slept, and claimed the reason for turning off the light near her was to prevent residents being disturbed.
'She denied ever taking medication from her overall pocket and giving it to a resident.'

 SOURCE:     The Daily Mail, UK
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