Ian Wardman – Registered Nurse - Professional Misconduct

4 November 2020

The Health Care Complaints Commission prosecuted a complaint against Ian Wardman, a registered nurse, before the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal. The complaint concerned his care of a 78 year old acute care patient in the cardiothoracic ward at Liverpool Hospital in November 2018. It was alleged that at the start of the night shift, the patient’s cardiac condition was monitored by a heart monitor via telemetry leads attached to his chest. At the end of the night shift, the leads were no longer attached and the patient was found unresponsive and later declared deceased.

The Tribunal found that :

  • Over a 7.5 hour period during his night shift, Mr Wardman failed to take observations of the patient, In circumstances where :
    • the care plan directed six hourly observations,
    • the last observations had been taken by another nurse 3 hours before Mr Wardman’s night shift started,
    • Mr Wardman knew the patient needed closer supervision and monitoring,
    • Mr Wardman did not have any reasonable excuse for his failure.
  • During his night shift, Mr Wardman decided not to reconnect the heart monitor leads after the patient had removed the leads and did not:
    • take observations to assess whether the patient was clinically stable before making his decision,
    • seek permission from a doctor,
    • consult the nurse in charge or seek help from a colleague before making his decision,
    • Mr Wardman did not have any reasonable excuse for his failure.

On 4 November 2020, the Tribunal found Mr Wardman guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct and professional misconduct. The Tribunal was satisfied that Mr Wardman’s proven conduct is sufficiently serious to justify suspension or cancellation of his registration, particularly given the fundamental obligation to take observations and that his decision not to reconnect the leads was reckless and had catastrophic consequences for the patient.

The Tribunal will determine protective orders at Stage 2 proceedings.

The decision is available online.

Further Information

For further information, contact the Executive Officer of the Health Care Complaints Commission, on 9219 7444 or send an email to media@hccc.nsw.gov.au.

The information in this media release is correct at the time of publication. Orders may change; for example, conditions may no longer apply. For current information regarding the status of a registered health practitioner, including any conditions that currently apply, please check the National Register at www.ahpra.gov.au.

Still need more information

If you would like to speak to someone at the Commission for more information before you lodge a written complaint you can contact the Inquiry Line during business hours, Monday to Friday from 9am – 5pm on 1800 043 159 or submit an online inquiry.

Online inquiry

Ready to lodge your complaint

All complaints must be made in writing and we aim to assess complaints within 60 days. Your complaint will be allocated to an assessment officer and we will write to you to explain the outcome of your complaint.

Click here to make a complaint

Track my complaint

You can track the progress of your complaint online.

Click here to track your complaint