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Nurse disconnects 85-year-old patient's heart monitor alarm to FaceTime her family in the Philippines—report

By Ratziel San Juan Published Apr 30, 2023 4:41 pm Updated Apr 30, 2023 5:16 pm

A former nurse at an Australian hospital has had her registration terminated after a local court found that she disconnected an elderly patient's heart monitor alarm to FaceTime her family back in the Philippines.

The said patient of Sydney's Nepean Private Hospital was discovered dead afterward, according to a report by the Australian Broadcasting Communication.

The New South Wales Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal learned that Geraldine Lumbo Dizon turned off the vital signs monitor's sound during her night shift on July 19, 2021.

After her 66-minute FaceTime call, the nurse forgot to plug the alarm system back after her shift. This led to key alarms about the patient's worsening condition going unnoticed by staff, according to the tribunal.

The nurse neglected to inform doctors that the 85-year-old patient had an irregular heart rhythm an hour before he was pronounced dead. She also failed to provide treatment to the patient who had heart and renal failure.

CCTV footage even showed that the nurse only checked on the patient once during her 10-hour shift.

The court recently found Dizon guilty of professional misconduct and unsatisfactory professional conduct. Consequently, her nursing registration is effectively suspended for at least one year.

She explained in one tribunal hearing that she had turned off the speaker to help another "confused" patient who kept getting out of bed thinking the alarm was his doorbell. The nurse also admitted to working four 10-hour night shifts weekly at Nepean Public Hospital on top of three 10-hour shifts at Nepean Private.

Dizon trained in the Philippines in 1997 and then later gained her registration as an Australian nurse in 2006, according to a Daily Mail report.