Care worker in court for patient assault

AN HUNGARIAN health worker grabbed an elderly dementia patient by the throat and tried to force him into a bath at a Suffolk care home, a court has heard.

A HUNGARIAN health worker grabbed an elderly dementia patient by the throat and tried to force him into a bath at a Suffolk care home, a court has heard.

Experienced nurse Matyas Krisztianusz, 42, had been in the country for just five weeks when he took hold of the patient's neck in front of an appalled co-worker at Brookwood Manor in Little Waldingfield, near Sudbury.

The defendant was sacked by bosses at the care home and was yesterday handed a 12-month conditional discharge by magistrates after pleading guilty to assault by beating.

Bosses at the Alzheimer's Society last night welcomed the prosecution and praised workers at the home who reported the shocking incident.

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The court heard that the defendant had attempted to winch the patient into the bath when the victim became aggressive – a common problem with dementia victims, it was said.

Krisztianusz, who had gone through five days training and had only worked at the home for a month, grabbed the patient by the throat in an attempt to calm him down during the incident in March.

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Sarah-Jane Atkins, prosecuting, said: "On this particular date, the patient became aggressive and confused as the workers attempted to hoist and lower him into the bath using a winch.

"The patient did not follow directions and unfortunately Krisztianusz lost patience and carried out a restraining technique not approved by the care home.

"A witness described how he put his hand around the throat of the patient to forcibly restrain him. The fellow employee was dismayed at what she saw.

"Brookwood Manor dealt with the matter in an appropriate way and dismissed Krisztianusz."

Although the patient did not suffer any injuries in the assault, Miss Atkins said that he was clearly anxious and in distress.

Magistrates at Sudbury dismissed two further allegations of assault by beating against Krisztianusz, a qualified nurse in his home country for more than 20 years.

James Yardley, mitigating, said: "It is an unfortunate incident not least because of the vulnerability of the victim and also the effect it has had on my client himself.

"It has been a difficult time and he concedes that if he had time to think about it, he should have dealt with it in a different manner. He has been greatly affected by the proceedings and describes them as the worst period in his life."

In a statement read by his solicitor, Krisztianusz, of Melrose Avenue, Willesden, London, apologised for his actions and said he never intended to cause the elderly victim "any alarm or discomfort".

The court heard Krisztianusz, who has no family and was born in an orphanage, had arrived in England in January in a bid to pay off debts incurred in Hungary and was employed by the care home within a week.

"My client had enjoyed working at the care home but there had been some friction involving three other members of staff," he said.

"This was possibly due to political strife as there were also Slovakian workers and there was possibly an element of tension."

Krisztianusz was given a one-year conditional discharge and ordered to pay £60 costs.

Bosses at the care home refused to comment after the case, but a spokesman for the Alzheimer's Society said: "We are pleased with the fact that staff reported this incident.

"Caring for people with dementia is a highly skilled and demanding job. People with dementia have the right to good quality care wherever they live."

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