December 2015

Drunk nurse is struck off after dropping a four-month-old baby boy on his head


A nurse has been struck off after dropping a four-month-old baby on his head while she pushed his pram to buy vodka.

Rachel Lynn, 39, of Balloch, near Inverness, was allegedly seen holding the boy by his ankles over her left shoulder with her left hand, while holding the pram with her right hand.

A witness then saw her let go of the baby, who fell head first onto the road before flopping over, a Nursing and Midwifery Council report said.

And when a couple went over to check on the baby, alcohol could be smelt on Lynn’s breath and she was slurring her words

Lynn has now been struck off the register by the Nursing and Midwifery Council after her fitness to practise was found to be ‘currently impaired’.

The incident happened in June 2014 while Lynn was employed by Raigmore Hospital in Inverness as a theatre nurse. A report by the NMC stated that witnesses had claimed she had been drunk at the time of the incident.

It said: ‘A couple were in their garden when they heard the sound of a distressed baby and, looking over, one of them, the husband, saw Ms Lynn holding the child by the ankles over her left shoulder with her left hand, while holding the pram with her right hand.

‘His wife then watched and the two of them saw Ms Lynn let go of the baby, who fell head first onto the road surface before flopping over.

‘Both husband and wife went over to assist. The husband remarked to police that Ms Lynn was “out of it” and “appeared to be looking right through him”. The police witnesses could detect a smell of alcoholic liquor from Ms Lynn and noted that she was slurring her words.’

The baby was taken to Raigmore Hospital where medical staff discovered he had suffered an 11cm (4.3in) fracture in his skull. He was discharged from hospital a few days later.

Lynn was convicted of wilfully ill-treating a young boy for whom she had ‘parental responsibilities, causing injury to that child’ at Inverness Sheriff Court in January.

She was ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work. Lynn had been charged three days before the incident with drink driving. She was convicted of this offence at the same court last year.

At a hearing in Edinburgh on Friday, the NMC panel found her ability to practice as a children’s nurse was impaired, and struck her off the register.

They believed this decision to be in the public interest because she was a ‘harm to self and others when under the influence of alcohol’.

Other aggravating factors considered by the panel included a range of convictions and that the offence of ‘wilfully ill-treating’ a young person involved an ‘extremely vulnerable young child’.

The report said: ‘Public confidence in the nursing profession and the regulatory process would be seriously undermined if a finding of current impairment were not made in this case.’

Derek Zeitlin, legal representative for the NMC, said: ‘Ms Lynn continues to pose a risk of significant harm to herself and others should she not manage her health condition.’

NMC panel chairman Tim Mann said: ‘The behaviour that led to these convictions has not been curtailed and it considered that there was a pattern of behaviour which increased the risk of repetition. Due to the seriousness of the convictions in this case and the lack of appropriate insight, the only appropriate and proportionate sanction to impose would be a striking-off order.’