Professor Stephen Hawking's former nurse struck off

Tuesday 12th March 2019 14:30 GMT

Patricia Dowdy, 61, had faced multiple misconduct charges in relation to her care for the renowned physicist, including financial misconduct, dishonesty and not having the correct qualifications.

She was also charged with not providing appropriate care and failing to co-operate with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

The regulator found that Mrs Dowdy, who worked for the scientist for 15 years, "failed to provide the standards of good, professional care that we expect and Professor Hawking deserved".

The revered scientist, who suffered from motor neurone disease, died in March last year aged 76.

Matthew McClelland, director of fitness to practise at the NMC, said: "Mrs Dowdy will no longer be able to practice as a nurse.

"As the public rightly expects, in serious cases such as this - where a nurse has failed in their duty of care and has not been able to evidence to the panel that they have learned from their mistakes and be fit to practise - we will take action.

"We have remained in close contact with the Hawking family throughout this case and I am grateful to them - as they approach the anniversary of Professor Hawking's death - and others for sharing their concerns with us.

"My thoughts are with the family at this difficult time."

Mrs Dowdy was suspended earlier this month as she faced the misconduct allegations.

A spokesman for the family said: "The Hawking family are relieved this traumatic ordeal has now concluded and that as a result of the verdict, others will not have to go through what they suffered from this individual.

"They want to thank the NMC for their thorough investigation."

The NMC has come under fire because the hearing had been held behind closed doors.

It says a decision was taken to protect the privacy of Professor Hawking and his family.

One allegation also related to the health of Mrs Dowdy and so a decision was taken to protect her, it said.

Professor Hawking became one of the most important scientists in his field, despite his decades-long battle with a debilitating illness.

He was diagnosed with a rare form of motor neurone disease in 1964 at the age of 22 and was given just a few years to live.

The father-of-three eventually became confined to a wheelchair and dependent on a computerised voice system for communication.

He continued to travel the world giving lectures and writing scientific papers about the basic laws that govern the universe.

Professor Hawking his best-selling book A Brief History Of Time has sold more than 10 million copies.

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