'Terrifying' nurse wins further compensation

The nurse told dialysis patients at Auckland City Hospital to 'steri strip yourself'. Photo / NZ Herald
The nurse told dialysis patients at Auckland City Hospital to 'steri strip yourself'. Photo / NZ Herald

A fired nurse has claimed another $3500 in her battle with the Auckland District Health Board.

Judith Lee, a 15-year-veteran, was fired from her job with the DHB in July after repeated disciplinary breaches, including telling "terrified" dialysis patients at Auckland City Hospital to "steri strip yourself".

Despite strong evidence showing Ms Lee had behaved inappropriately and provided sub-standard care to patients - including verbally abusing patients, sleeping on the job and spending hours surfing the Internet - the board's inadequate complaints processes in her case meant she was able to prove to the Employment Relations Authority that she had been wrongly dismissed.

She was awarded $2500 compensation for wrongful dismissal.

Both staff and patients had complained about her conduct, with one incident detailing how she had failed to correctly disconnect dialysis tubing resulting in blood on the floor and her shoes, the initial decision on her case stated.

A newly released costs determination has ordered the board to pay $3500 as a contribution towards Ms Lee's legal costs.

The determination revealed Ms Lee initially listed her billable costs for the case as $55,000, however these were reduced to $27,500 after she accepted the figure was unreasonable.

Authority member Tania Tetitaha said in the determination no legal fee invoices were filed by Ms Lee, who instead relied on her submissions to give a breakdown of costs.

"Some items do not appear to be legal costs at all, for example: dealing with MP and others."

Ms Tetitaha said some of the items billed like 'travel and accommodation' were questionable, given the matter had been dealt with in Auckland.

She also found the case had not been overly complex, and delays in the decision - which Ms Lee indicated increased her legal costs - should not have had any significant impact on the bill.

- additional reporting by Bevan Hurley

- APNZ

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n3 at 22 Aug 2014 16:30:23 Processing Time: 882ms