Stephen Hawking's former nurse is charged with serious misconduct after she was suspended in relation to the renowned scientist's care.
The decision was made in light of a closed-door hearing of the Nursing and Midwifery Council in London. The six-week proceedings began in February and are due on March 21.
Patricia Dowdy, 61, worked as one of Hawking's nurses for 15 years. In 2016, she received an interim suspension following a complaint filed by the family. NMC said a suspension is usually given if the allegations are serious enough to initiate an investigation.
Matthew McClelland, director of Fitness to Practice at NMC, said the proceedings usually take place in public. However, circumstances like the health of those involved may call for a closed-door hearing.
"Public interest is always considered but the panel must always put the individual needs of all those involved, including families, patients, nurses, midwives and nursing associates, first," McClelland said.
Dowdy told the local newspaper she is upset and that she cannot comment on the ongoing case. The final decision of the tribunal will determine if the nurse from Ipswich is fit to continue her practice. Dowdy allegedly committed the violation at the physicist's home in Cambridge.
Allegations Of Abuse
In 2004, Hawking's second wife, Elaine Mason, was accused of abuse after the former had been repeatedly brought to the hospital due to unexplained broken wrist and cuts to the face. Both Hawking and Mason denied the allegations.
As of this writing, it is unclear if Dowdy was among the 10 nurses who accused Mason of abuse. It was also not indicated if the abuse is included in Dowdy's grounds for suspension.
"I knew Pat, she was lovely. She was fully qualified. I don't know what this is all about, but I'm sure it's nonsense. And now Stephen's not here to protect her," a source close to Dowdy told the Telegraph.
Hawking died in March 2018 at the age of 76 due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig's, a rare type of motor neuron disease.