Nurse’s disciplinary hearing postponed

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Ntsebeng Motsoeli

MASERU — The disciplinary hearing against a former Queen Elizabeth II hospital nurse accused of operating an unlicensed clinic and stealing from a patient has been postponed to August 27.

The first hearing had been postponed to August 5.

The Nursing Council of Lesotho (NCL) is also charging Joalane Khoarai with administering expired vaccines on children.

Operators of private clinics are supposed to be licensed by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and the NCL.

Khoarai runs ‘Mabatho Clinic in Thibella which the NCL says was not licensed.

Nurses are supposed to be members of the council before they can work.

The council alleges that when she was working at Queen Elizabeth II Khoarai stole from a patient who had asked her to withdraw money from her account from an ATM.

It is alleged that after withdrawing the money she kept it.

The patient later died. She is also charged with stealing a delivery bed from Queen Elizabeth II hospital. She was fired from the hospital in 2007.

Khoarai is denying most of the charges but admits running an unregistered clinic.

She however claims to have tried hard to get a licence.

She said she applied for a license to run the clinic as soon as she was fired from Queen Elizabeth II Hospital but the NCL never responded to her application.

“I gathered all the equipment that I would need to run the clinic. I waited for the council to send its people to come and assess me so that I could get my licence. Months passed and they never came.

“I decided to go on with the work,” Khoarai told the NCL panel during the hearing.

She said months later when there was still no sign from the council she re-applied for the license.

“I re-applied for the licence. The council did not say anything. That was until early this year when I was summoned for a disciplinary hearing.”

She vehemently denied ever committing other crimes. She said she never stole money from a patient.

She however acknowledged withdrawing money from ‘Malehlohonolo Lengau, a patient who was under her care at the hospital.

She said Lengau had become a regular patient and they had grown to know each other better.

She said Lengau had asked her to withdraw the money.

“I asked her why she had not asked her husband to do it the day he had accompanied her to hospital. She said it was between them.

“I went to the ATM and withdrew about M1 060. I did not give it to her when I came back. I kept the money in the store which only I and another nurse could access because the patient was about to go to theatre. I intended to give it to her as soon as she re-gained consciousness.”

When she came back to work she heard news that Lengau’s husband had come to look for his wife’s money.

“I had kept the money in the storeroom which was locked during my off days. We normally kept the key with the matrons. I then asked one matron to open the room, take the money and keep it with her until Lengau’s husband came.

“I then quickly wrote a report to the matron to explain to her how I got the money. The money had disappeared.”

She denied ever stealing the hospital equipment.

“I moved one portion of the delivery bed from the maternity ward to the store to exchange it. I came back with another bed and took it to the maternity ward.”

She said allegations that she was administering an expired measles vaccine were not true.

“I was just keeping the vaccine in the fridge so that I could give it back to the suppliers in the Ministry of Health. They use them to keep records of used and unused vaccines.”

The nursing council representative Advocate Vuyelwa Kotelo is expected to cross-examine the accused when the hearing continues later this month.

Khoarai was represented by Advocate Rabati Akhosi.

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