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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 April, 2004, 12:59 GMT 13:59 UK
Nurse 'tricked medics' over drugs
Barbara Salisbury
Barbara Salisbury worked as a ward sister
A hospital nurse accused of attempting to murder four elderly patients tricked doctors into prescribing extra drugs, a court has heard.

Barbara Salisbury persuaded medics to prescribe the painkiller diamorphine to a patient when she did not need it, Chester Crown Court was told.

The 47-year-old, from Pontybodkin, north Wales, was working as a ward sister at Leighton Hospital, Crewe, at the time of the alleged offences.

She denies attempted murder.

The alleged offences took place between 1999 and 2001 and all the patients have since died.

Ms Salisbury denies four counts of attempted murder against Reuben Thompson, 81, Frank Owen, 92, James Byrne, 76, and Frances May Taylor, 88.

The court heard on Thursday that Ms Salisbury recorded one patient May Taylor, 88, as being in pain - despite every other nurse noting that she was comfortable.

She then ordered two junior nurses to fit an infusion device for the painkiller and when she was questioned about it she said: "If you are not happy leave it to me. Why prolong the inevitable."

James Byrne is one of Barbara Sailsburys alledged victims

Prosecuting barrister Robin Spencer QC told the jury: "Put bluntly, the defendant had deceitfully created the means of hastening the patient's death by getting the doctors to prescribe diamorphine when it wasn't required."

Mr Spencer said Ms Salisbury deliberately withheld fluids from 92-year-old Frank Owen, despite knowing he had kidney problems and was vulnerable to the effects of dehydration.

He told the court: "She instructed nurses to lie him flat on his back and said 'with any luck, his lungs will fill with fluid and he will die'."

Mr Spencer told an earlier hearing Ms Salisbury was driven by a desire to free up hospital beds.

"If the patient could be made well enough to be discharged, she would aim for that, if not she would hasten death."

Mr Spencer stressed to the jury that this was not a trial about euthanasia.

The trial continues.

Nurse 'tried to kill patients'
28 Apr 04  |  Staffordshire
Ex-nurse denies murder bids
08 Sep 03  |  Wales


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