A 47-year-old Welsh nursing sister is being tried for the attempted murder of four geriatric patients in order to free up hospital beds. The prosecution alleges that Barbara Salisbury, a married mother of two, had a history of abusing elderly patients who were near death in Leighton Hospital in northern England. She would give them inappropriate doses of diamorphine, lay them on their backs so that it was difficult for them to breathe, or remove drips.
Callous remarks allegedly made by Ms Salisbury about burdensome patients have given the trial a gruesome twist. Colleagues reported that she made comments such as “this has gone on long enough”, “a lot of time has been spent in that side room; they aren’t going to get any better” and “When you’ve finished bed-bathing him lie him down flat. With any luck his lungs will fill with fluid and he’ll die”. On one occasion, the prosecution claims, a pensioner was given 76 booster doses of diamorphine in just over 15 hours. The sister allegedly pressed the booster button repeatedly, telling a 76-year- old patient, “Give in. It’s time to go.”
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