Nurse ex­ploita­tion probe

Worker al­legedly changed man’s will for own ben­e­fit

Tweed Daily News - - NEWS - Paul We­ston paul.we­[email protected]­coast­bul­

A TWEED nurse ac­cused of chang­ing the will of a lonely man in need of care to gain ac­cess to his $1 mil­lion es­tate has al­legedly held back on pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion to in­ves­ti­ga­tors.

In Au­gust 2017, Leonie Egling­ton com­plained to the Tweed Hospi­tal about the tran­si­tional aged care nurse, just two months be­fore her brother Pat Meagher died.

Mr Meagher was a re­tired boil­er­maker who pre­vi­ously worked at the Con­dong Su­gar Mill.

But the in­ves­ti­ga­tion could take sev­eral more months to com­plete, frus­trat­ing Ms Egling­ton, who has sought an­swers about the nurse main­tain­ing close con­tact with her brother.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors will de­ter­mine if the nurse used her role as a carer to ex­ploit a per­sonal re­la­tion­ship which caused Mr Meagher to change his will to make her the only ben­e­fi­ciary.

An ex­ter­nal con­sul­tant will in­ves­ti­gate the al­le­ga­tion that dur­ing ear­lier in­ter­nal hospi­tal in­quiries the nurse did not dis­close in­for­ma­tion avail­able to her.

Ms Egling­ton was shocked af­ter be­ing banned from a hospi­tal visit as the nurse shared a cake with her brother, and later told her she was no longer his ap­pointed power of at­tor­ney and guardian.

She dis­cov­ered the safe com­bi­na­tion at his home was changed, and counted only $161,000 de­spite them both leav­ing $180,000 of in­her­i­tance money along with $320,000 of her brother’s su­per­an­nu­a­tion.

Ms Egling­ton’s lawyer Jeff Gar­rett, from Attwood Mar­shall, was ad­vised by the health ser­vice that the nurse had pro­vided a re­sponse which sparked a fur­ther “in­ter­nal risk as­sess­ment”.

“Based on all of the in­for­ma­tion avail­able to the Health Dis­trict, a de­ci­sion was taken to in­ves­ti­gate the com­plaint through an ex­ter­nal con­sul­tant, set­ting aside the in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion process to en­sure the in­tegrity of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion is op­ti­mised,” the man­ager wrote.

North­ern NSW Lo­cal Health Dis­trict chief ex­ec­u­tive Wayne Jones, in out­lin­ing the terms of ref­er­ence for the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, said a fur­ther al­le­ga­tion was sub­mit­ted by Ms Egling­ton’s lawyers.

They con­firmed that in Novem­ber 2016, the nurse had taken Mr Meagher, who was re­cov­er­ing from a stroke, to a dif­fer­ent so­lic­i­tor to al­ter his will to her favour.

Mr Meagher later met with Attwood Mar­shall so­lic­i­tors and sought to up­date his will, reap­point­ing his sis­ter.

“It is fur­ther al­leged that (the nurse) failed to ap­pro­pri­ately re­spond when in­ter­viewed as part of the in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” Mr Jones wrote.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­port was ex­pected to be pro­vided to Mr Jones by June this year. The nurse is un­der­stood to be on re­stricted du­ties and not al­lowed to work with the el­derly.

Mr Jones said, “A re­view is cur­rently un­der way with re­gards to care pro­vided to Pa­trick John Meagher be­tween June 2016 and March 2017.

“We ex­pect this to be fi­nalised in the com­ing months,” he said.

“NNSWLHD can­not make any fur­ther com­ment at this time due to the on­go­ing sta­tus of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

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