Nurse left elderly patient, 85, to die after disconnecting his noisy heart monitor alarm so she could FaceTime her family in peace
- Geraldine Lumbo Dizon has her registration suspended
- The former nurse muted the patient’s heart monitors
- She used her phone before an 85-year-old was found dead
A nurse’s medical record has been terminated after a tribunal found she had disconnected the alarm from a patient’s heart monitor during a FaceTime call before he died.
Geraldine Lumbo Dizon muted the 85-year-old’s monitor during a night shift at Nepean Private Hospital in western Sydney on July 29, 2021, the NSW Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal has determined.
Ms. Dizon also failed to inform doctors that the same patient had recorded an irregular heart rhythm prior to the incident.
The former nurse has now been found guilty of professional misconduct and improper professional conduct.
The tribunal ruled that Ms Dizon should have treated the male patient, who had kidney and heart failure, which she failed to do during the video call with her family.
Geraldine Lumbo Dizon turned off a patient’s heart monitor sound system during a FaceTime call on July 16, 2021 (stock image pictured)
Geraldine Lumbo Dizon has her registered nurse suspended after her fatal shift at Nepean Private Hospital (pictured)
Ms Dizon then forgot to plug the alarm system back in after her shift, which the tribunal said led to other staff missing key alarms indicating his deteriorating condition.
“On July 30, 2021 at 7:07 a.m., the heart monitor showed that patient A had bradycardia (slow heartbeat),” the tribunal ruled.
“Nursing and medical staff couldn’t hear the alarm because the telemetry alarm speakers were still disconnected.”
The ‘telemetry alarm speakers’ connect to the patient monitoring device, five of which, including the 85-year-old man, were disconnected during Ms Dizon’s shift.
Ms Dizon explained at a tribunal hearing that she simply turned the sound off to avoid confusion among other patients who mistook it for the sound of a doorbell.
Seven minutes after the muted alarm was detected at 07:07, the man went into heart failure – which also led to a soundless alarm.
He was found unconscious in his bed at 7:20 am by staff.
It was also found that Ms. Dizon was supposed to check on the patient every six hours, but CCTV showed she had only done so once during her 10-hour shift.
The tribunal said Ms Dizon was on the phone 15 minutes before the man’s heart rate began to slow and she spent more than 66 minutes on the FaceTime call.
While muted, the patient’s monitor attempted to alert staff to a slowing heart rate and subsequent cardiac arrest before they were found dead
Ms. Dizon said her phone use was “unconscious” and she was checking on her family in the Philippines at the time.
She also said she didn’t tell the other staff about the heart rhythm because she was “not good at EKG reading.”
The former nurse did not attend hearings with the Health Care Complaints Committee, in which she indicated that she had already resigned from nursing.
The commission further found that she had breached Australian nurses’ safety protocols after working 70 hours a week between January and July 2021.
Ms. Dizon admitted to working four 10-hour night shifts a week at Nepean Public Hospital, as well as three 10-hour shifts at Nepean Private, but said she was not fatigued at the time.
After training in the Philippines in 1997 and obtaining her Australian nurse registration in 2006, Ms Dizon’s registration was suspended in August 2021 – a month after her 85-year-old patient died.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Healthscope Corporate, which runs the Nepean Private Hospital, for comment.