Nurse accused of drugging patients for ‘easy life’ says she showed only ‘care and devotion’

A nurse accused of drugging patients in her care for her “own amusement” has told a jury she showed them “nothing but care and devotion”.

Catherine Hudson, 54, is on trial for ill-treating four patients and stealing the medicine, Mebeverine, intended for an end-of-life care patient – charges she denies.

She has been accused of over-sedating patients at Blackpool Victoria Hospital for an “easy life” during work shifts.

The mother-of-three is also accused of targeting alleged victims if she disliked them or their relatives, prosecutors have said.

WhatsApp messages between Hudson and colleagues read out in court revealed a “culture of abuse” on the unit where she worked.

In one exchange about an elderly male patient, Preston Crown Court heard Hudson wrote: “I’m going to kill bed 5 xxx”.

In another, the court heard that she said: “I sedated one of them to within an inch of her life lol. Bet she’s flat for a week haha xxx.”

“If bed 5 starts he will b [sic] getting sedated to hell pmsfl (p*****g myself f****** laughing),” the Band 5 qualified nurse wrote in a further text message.

‘My behaviour in private was appalling’

When giving evidence in court today, Hudson apologised for the messages.

She said: “I would say my behaviour in private was appalling, absolutely appalling, and I can do nothing but apologise for my behaviour in terms of the text messages.

“My behaviour towards patients and families was nothing but with care and devotion.”

Hudson said she wanted to work in the specialist area of treatment after her father became unwell following a number of strokes.

She qualified as a nurse in 2010 and “loved” her job at Blackpool Victoria.

Hudson said: “It was just fulfilling. To see a patient through a journey following a stroke… and to see them through their rehab stage and then hopefully see them leave with their families.”

Nurse says unit was understaffed

Hudson tried to blame understaffing on the unit.

Her barrister, Mark Rhind KC, asked: “Do you understand that some people reading these messages and how you refer to people may raise an eyebrow that you found your job fulfilling and enjoying?”

Hudson replied: “I understand, yes.”

Asked if there were occasions when she did not enjoy her job, Hudson said: “It was very difficult at times. The lack of staff was absolutely appalling to a completely dangerous level.

“Terrible understaffing, three trained nurses for 40 patients.”

She was fired from her job in May 2020 and Hudson expects she will be struck off following the conclusion of the trial, jurors were told.

Prosecution says nurses ‘conspired’ with each other

Hudson, of Coriander Close, Blackpool, has already admitted to the theft of medicine and conspiracy to steal medicine from the hospital.

Fellow nurse Charlotte Wilmot, 48, of Bowland Crescent, Blackpool, denies encouraging Hudson to sedate one of the four patients Hudson is accused of ill-treating.

Both defendants have also pleaded not guilty to conspiring to ill-treat another patient.

The alleged ill-treatment was said to have taken place between February 2017 and November 2018.