A male nurse who contacted a female patient on social media was found guilty of professional misconduct today.
Gilbert Hategekimana was an agency nurse at the Mater hospital in Dublin on October 3, 2015, when the student teacher presented at the hospital’s Emergency Department.
During the Nursing and Midwifery Board’s fitness to practice inquiry he admitted he took the mobile phone number and address from her patient file. He then sent her messages, rang her and sent her a friend request via Facebook.
Hategekimana was also found guilty of non-compliance with the professional code of conduct. Sanctions will be determined later.
The student, 24, referred to as Patient A, remained in hospital for several days with issues relating to Type 1 diabetes.
On October 14, 2015, she attended an appointment at the Diabetes Day Centre at the Mater, and was in the waiting room when she received a WhatsApp message from Hategekimana.
He texted her: “How are you?” Patient A didn’t recognise the number, but she knew him from the profile picture.
Wanting to confirm whether it was him, she replied: “Fine. Who is this?”
Hategekimana replied: “Gilbert. Remember me in Mater Emergency?”
On October 20, 2015, she received a WhatsApp message from Hategekimana, which said: “I’m so sorry from the bottom of my heart. I didn’t mean to hurt you.”
The same day, Patient A received a friend request from the nurse via Facebook and, a few moments later, received a call from a number she didn’t recognised. A friend rang the number back and put it on speaker, and Patient A recognised the voice of the person who answered as that of Hategekimana.
In evidence, which she gave via Skype, Patient A said the nurse spoke with her “a little bit” on October 3, 2015.
She said: “He never asked me for my personal details. I felt very frightened and confused as to why he would be texting me. I felt my privacy had been breached and violated.
“I never expected this. I felt quite vulnerable and I felt like I was left with loads of questions.”
Patient A said after she received the friend request on Facebook and phone call from the nurse she felt even more violated at this stage “because then I knew he had my full name.
She added: “I was afraid he would come to my address. He was so persistent. I felt scared.”
Hategekimana’s counsel Femi Daniyan, BL, told Patient A his client wished to sincerely apologise for his actions.
He added: “I’m saying sorry on his behalf. He appreciates that what he has done is completely wrong. He’s realised his mistake and commits to it not happening again.”