Friday, 18 April 2008

Vigilance urged on potential patient killers

Hospitals are urged to do more to monitor the potential for staff to kill patients.

Australian hospitals are being urged to do more to monitor staff who may set out to kill patients.

John Field, a nursing lecturer at James Cook University in Queensland, has just completed his PhD at Adelaide University on nurses who kill their patients.

He says health workers are often slow to report any suspicious behaviour among their colleagues because of a disbelief that someone would deliberately set out to kill patients.

"The best strategy that we have is if we can get people first of all acknowledging the possibility that it could happen and then being prepared to report it when they do have suspicions about another nurse," he said.

"Generally speaking what we've found is that it's so unthinkable for nurses to think that a colleague might be killing patients that they don't report it, they don't suspect it and they don't report it."

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