Nurse stole $1000 from elderly patient by forcing her to give up her pin number

Nurse stole $1,000 from elderly patient, 75, by forcing her to give up her bank card pin, leaving the woman so frightened she thought it was a nightmare

  • A nurse pinned down a patient and demanded the pin number to her bank card 
  • A tribunal found on Thursday that the nurse had also lied to police about it 
  • Percy McCarthy was sentenced to community service but is still a nurse 

A Sydney nurse stole $1,000 from the account of an elderly cancer patient after forcibly obtaining her PIN and then lied at her trial, a tribunal has found.

‘I could feel someone hurting me and holding me down’, the patient reported, saying she was ‘so frightened’ as the female repeatedly asked for the PIN.

The 75-year-old woman was recovering from surgery in March 2018 at the Hospital for Specialist Surgery, Bella Vista.

The patient was recovering from surgery when the nurse held her down and demanded her pin number (stock image)

The patient was recovering from surgery when the nurse held her down and demanded her pin number (stock image) 

Two bank cards were in her purse in a handbag, hidden under a cabinet in her room.

In June 2019, registered nurse Percy McCarthy was found guilty in the District Court of dishonestly obtaining, and of attempting to obtain, a financial advantage by deception.

She had tried to withdraw $1000 from one account and succeeded in doing so with the second card.

McCarthy was sentenced to a two-year community correction order which included a requirement for 500 hours of community work.

Complaints were subsequently made to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal, which on Thursday found all four proven including professional misconduct.

While McCarthy conceded she was guilty, she offered explanations why she failed to notify the Nursing and Midwifery Board of the charges.

She also disputed claims she had removed the two cards from the patient and forcibly sought the PINs, assertions rejected by the tribunal.

‘The respondent has given dramatically inconsistent evidence as to the circumstances in which she obtained the cards and the disposal of the cash taken from the ATM,’ it said.

Versions she gave to the police and the jury were inconsistent.

And ‘the inconsistencies of these versions with the evidence of the respondent in these proceedings borders on the incredulous’.

Her claims included meeting an old lady with a band-aid on her left arm in a shopping centre car park and being asked for help in withdrawing $1000 from an ATM.

She later said the patient was walking around with two cards in her hand wrapped up with paper containing a PIN.

The nurse then withdrew $1,000 from the woman's account (stock image)

The nurse then withdrew $1,000 from the woman’s account (stock image) 

McCarthy also claimed the patient said her sister normally helped her with her banking but she had had an accident and asked for help to withdraw $1000.

‘A rereading of the various factual versions is sufficient per se to demonstrate that it would be unsafe to rely on any evidence given by the respondent about these matters.’

The tribunal found McCarthy lied to police and lied on oath at her trial.

She obtained the cards without consent and forcibly obtained the PIN of one card ‘in circumstances which caused the patient both physical and mental damage’.

In her statement, the patient said she thought she was dreaming.

‘I was shaking my head thinking it was a dream and it was the anaesthetic,’ she said.

‘I could feel someone pinning me down by my arms and my legs.’

She felt so frightened and heard a female voice, getting agitated, asking for her PIN.

The tribunal found McCarthy’s actions constituted ‘improper and unethical conduct relating to the practice or purported practice of nursing’.

It concluded the conduct would justify cancellation or suspension of her registration, but will consider her penalty at a later date.  


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Written by Bourbiza Mohamed

A technology enthusiast and a passionate writer in the field of information technology, cyber security, and blockchain

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