Ruling on Nurse Ends 'Ordeal' for Hawking Family

Physicist's former nurse, Patricia Dowdy, banned after several allegations of improper care
By Richard Kemeny,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 13, 2019 10:00 AM CDT
The late Stephen Hawking is seen the Royal Albert Hall in London.   (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP, File)

(Newser) – Patricia Dowdy, one of Stephen Hawking's former nurses, has been banned by a UK professional regulator for not providing adequate care to him, per the Guardian. Dowdy, 61, had cared for the theoretical physicist for eight years, but she was suspended in 2016 by the Nursing and Midwifery Council due to several misconduct allegations. These included financial misconduct, dishonesty, and not having the correct qualifications, among others. After a six-week private hearing, the NMC decided she'd failed her duty of care and hadn't learned from her mistakes—she will no longer be able to practice as a nurse. "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," a family statement noted. Family members thanked the council after the verdict, per the AP.

Hawking was diagnosed in 1963 with motor neurone disease at the age of 21. Given just two years to live by doctors, he survived until last year; he died at his home in Cambridge, England, at the age of 76. The investigation was prompted after the scientist's three children lodged a complaint with the NMC, per the Times of London. The NMC's Matthew McClelland says he has "remained in close contact with the Hawking family throughout this case and I am grateful to them ... and others for sharing their concerns with us." Thursday will be the year anniversary of Hawking's death. (Read more Stephen Hawking stories.)

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