Nurse found guilty of professional misconduct for slapping elderly patient, calling him 'dirty Jew'

By Liz Farsaci

A nurse was today found guilty of professional misconduct for slapping an elderly patient suffering from advanced dementia and referring to him as a “dirty Jew”.

Registered nurse Marilyn Rillera (57), from the Philippines, slapped an elderly resident of the Maynooth Community Care Unit, Leinster Street, Maynooth, Co Kildare, on the arm on an unspecified date in December 2015, a Fitness to Practice inquiry at the Nursing and Midwifery Board in Blackrock, Co Dublin, found.

It was also found that Ms Rillera failed to communicate appropriately with the 87-year-old dementia patient when she referred to him as “a dirty Jew”.

Ms Rillera was also found guilty of non-compliance with the nurses’ professional code of conduct.

Ms Rillera, who was not present at the inquiry, denied she ever referred to the patient in such a manner. Instead, she claimed she told him that he was dirty.

But Linda Jennings, a health care assistant working with Ms Rillera on the day in question, said she was “100 per cent” certain that the nurse used the phrase “dirty Jew” with the resident.

Linda Jennings said that sometime in early December 2015 herself and Ms Rillera were assisting the resident in using the toilet. The resident did not have the use of his legs, and required a sling to help hoist him from his wheelchair to the toilet.

Linda Jennings said that as they were helping the elderly man into the sling, he became agitated, which was not unusual for him, and then he hit Ms Rillera on the arm. Ms Rillera moved her arm to block the hit.

Linda Jennings said that Ms Rillera then said to the resident: “You can’t do that. You can’t hit a woman. What are you, a dirty Jew?”

Ms Rillera then slapped the elderly man on the arm, Linda Jennings claimed. “When she struck his arm, it made a loud noise. It wasn’t a punch.”

Linda Jennings said the man was shocked and upset but a short time afterwards, didn’t understand what had happened.

She said she knew this resident, as she had worked at the care unit since 2014, and that he “didn’t especially like non-nationals speaking to him”. She said there seemed to be certain members of staff he would act badly around, most of whom were from abroad.

Ms Rillera, originally from the Philippines, worked in Ireland since 2002. Eoghan O’Sullivan, BL, for the NMBI, said the nurse indicated she would not be participating in the inquiry.

He said it was his understanding that she has either already returned to the Philippines, or planned to do so imminently.

The Maynooth Community Care Unit is a HSE-run nursing home, with 40 beds.

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