Nurse exploitation probe
Worker allegedly changed man’s will for own benefit
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.”