A CRUEL nurse stole an 87-year-old patient’s bank cards to fund a £5,000 online gambling spree has been kicked out of the profession.
Rubilita Coggin, 49, stole the elderly woman’s debit and credit cards while treating her at University Hospital of Hartlepool in April last year.
Over the next three months Coggin blew £5,000 of the money on an online gambling site, playing at all times of the day and spending between £10 and £600 a time.
The spending continued even after the patient passed away, and only ended when her widower noticed banking irregularities, the Nursing and Midwifery Council heard.
The patient was first admitted to University Hospital of Hartlepool on April 10 last year when Coggin stole her Lloyds TSB bank card and Laura Ashley Mastercard.
Two weeks later the patient died.
Over the next three months married mum Coggin used the cards a total of 168 times to feed her kick, spending between £10 and £600 a day.
Coggin’s gambling took place at all times throughout the day, even when she was on duty, the hearing was told.
Teesside Crown Court was told Coggin began gambling to tackle loneliness after her husband left to work in Saudi Arabia.
Only when the patient’s widower noticed irregularities on bank statements was Coggin arrested.
Initially she claimed she had discovered the cards at a bus stop, but eventually changed her story.
Coggin was convicted of theft and two counts of fraud by false representation and jailed for 15 months in January this year.
On striking Coggin off from nursing, NMC panel chairman Ian Luder said: “The panel noted that Mrs Coggin had stolen from a patient in her care when that patient was at her most vulnerable.
“The panel considered that this was not an isolated incident; rather Mrs Coggin had continued to use Patient A’s debit and credit cards on multiple occasions over a prolonged period of time.
“The panel was of the view that the conviction in itself was capable of amounting to serious misconduct.
“Therefore the panel concluded that by stealing from a patient in her care and the subsequent distress caused to that patient’s family, Mrs Coggin had put patients at risk of harm.
“The panel also concluded that Mrs Coggin had acted dishonestly and this dishonest behaviour was such a serious breach of trust that it breached the fundamental tenets of the profession and brought the profession into disrepute.
“The panel acknowledged that Mrs Coggin has shown remorse for her actions but only limited insight, and, indeed did not accept that her fitness to practice was impaired.
“However there is no evidence that she has reflected on her action and in any event the panel concluded that the seriousness of her conviction outweighs any insight or remorse that has been demonstrated in this case.
“The panel considered that Mrs Coggin’s behaviour was so serious and amounted to such a gross breach of trust that public confidence in the nursing profession and the NMC as its regulator would be undermined were a finding of impairment not made.”
Coggin, of Elmwood Road, Hartlepool, was struck off on the basis of her conviction.