A care home nurse who was caught on a spy camera dragging a helpless dementia-suffering woman across her room onto a urine-stained bed has been struck off.
Mamello Herring was caught by a hidden camera installed by the victim’s family after suspicions arose about her treatment at a care home in Halifax, West Yorkshire.
The disturbing footage, taken on November 30, 2018, showed Herring and colleague Maria Jackson dragging Angelina Lanera, then 85, from a toilet back to her bed as she cried in distress.
Ms Lanera had been a resident of Claremont House for a period of months and was ‘physically frail, had reduced mobility, suffered from dementia, psychosis and was partially blind’.
However, the nursing staff manhandled her using a ‘drag lift’, a technique banned because of the injuries it can cause, which involves someone putting their hand or arm under a patient’s armpit.
Herring, of Leeds, pleaded guilty to a charge of ill treatment by a care worker at Bradford Crown Court in August 2019.
She was subsequently sentenced to an 18-month community order and required to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work at the same court in January last year.
The nurse, though, was struck off following a Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) misconduct hearing on Wednesday.
A panel heard Herring had been employed by the care home since 2014, but suspicions arose when a complaint was made to the local council from Ms Lanera’s family in December 2018.
Michael Lanera fitted a spy camera in his 85-year-old dementia-stricken mother’s room in Halifax, West Yorkshire, after he suspected she was being mistreated
Her son, Michael Lanera, had visited his mother and found her lying in a urine-stained bed, still in her clothes from the day before.
When he checked the camera he had planted in her room, he discovered the horrific footage.
The panel heard that Ms Lanera required a walking frame to move to and from her bathroom, along with the assistance of two members of staff. She also needed ‘careful and calm explanations’ when interventions were taking place.
Herring was suspended from her role on December 6, 2018, after the footage was provided to the local council and police.
It showed Herring and her care assistant colleague ‘drag Ms Lanera across the floor of the bedroom with her underwear down around her legs’.
The footage then shows Herring and the care assistant ‘lift the resident by her arms onto the bed’ with her ‘distress’ audibly clear.
Following a criminal investigation, Herring was charged with ill treatment by a care worker.
She initially pleaded not guilty to the offence, but changed her plea to guilty ahead of trial.
Passing sentence, Judge Richard Mansell QC told her that right thinking members of the public might have considered a short prison sentence ‘fully deserved’.
He added: ‘To drag a lady as vulnerable as Ms Lanera from the toilet, as you did, with her knickers around her ankles, and then to physically manhandle her up and onto and then up the length of her bed while she was moaning and crying in distress is a gross failure by both of you to care for this lady on that night.
‘You left her in that position, laid on her bed, crying out that she wanted the toilet, and her son found her the next day in her own urine soaked clothing, and he had already suspected that the care she was receiving was not all that it should have been.
‘He had installed a secret camera in that room to record just this kind of incident which he suspected may be occurring, and had he not done so you would have got away with it on this occasion, and quite probably on other occasions, because it is hard to believe that this was just a one off having watched the footage as I have.’
Claremont House care home in Halifax, West Yorkshire, where the incident took place in November 2018
Mrs Lanera could be heard crying in distress, but the workers continued to manhandle her using a banned ‘drag lift’ technique
Mr Lanera set up the camera after he suspected his mother Angela Lanera wasn’t being properly looked after at the care home in Halifax
The judge said Herring ‘deserved’ to lose her job.
The misconduct panel heard Herring’s actions ’caused direct distress and unwarranted harm to a vulnerable lady’, who was treated ‘without respect and with a disregard for her dignity’.
Her actions ‘also caused distress to the family’, whose concerns regarding her care became so great that they ‘felt it necessary to place a covert camera in her room’.
Herring did not attend the hearing, but told the panel her own actions were ‘entirely unacceptable and reprehensible’.
She said: ‘Working in a nursing home setting can be very challenging, particularly when residents have complex care needs or can demonstrate challenging behaviour.
‘When this incident happened, I was under stress and tired due to not sleeping well, therefore this might have affected my decision making.’
However, the panel said her remarks did ‘little to allay concerns or fully explain the conduct’ on the night of the incident.
The hearing was also told of how Herring had been subject to a previous referral to the watchdog after an incident in September 2013 in which she hoisted a patient from the floor to their bed and failed to call emergency services or document what had happened.
Determining that only a striking off order was appropriate, the NMC panel said: ‘The actions which led to Ms Herring’s conviction were a significant departure from the standards expected of a registered nurse and breached fundamental tenets of the profession.
‘The previous regulatory finding and sanction against Ms Herring suggests a pattern of behaviour and deep-seated attitudinal concerns. In these circumstances, it is submitted that Ms Herring’s conviction is fundamentally incompatible with her remaining on the register.’
Ms Lanera’s son said said he supported the striking off order.
Speaking after the sentencing last year, Mr Lanera said he was ‘angry’ at the pair who should have been caring for his vulnerable mother, who has since died.
He said: ‘I’m really angry with them for they did to my mum.
‘She (Herring) had also been warned before about her actions when she lifted a patient with a broken leg at another care home.
‘I believe in second chances and we all make mistakes. But she hasn’t learnt from her mistakes.
‘She shouldn’t be able to work in care again.’
Herring’s colleague, Maria Jackson, of Hipperholme, West Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to common assault and received an 18-month community order. She was also ordered to do 180 hours’ unpaid work.