Singapore

Nurse jailed for spraying sanitiser on patient's face and punching him

A staff nurse at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) who sprayed a patient's face with hand sanitiser three times and punched him twice in the face was jailed for nine weeks yesterday.

Muhammad Ihsan Mahmud, 32, pleaded guilty to one count each of voluntarily causing hurt and using criminal force on the vulnerable victim.

On Dec 8, 2019, at about 10.30am, a patient in his 50s splashed urine on another nurse. The nurse told Ihsan, who approached the patient and sprayed hand sanitiser on his face three times. He also tried to hit the victim with his elbow.

The victim, a long-term patient who had been diagnosed with chronic schizophrenia, later created a disturbance in the lounge. The accused, along with two other colleagues, restrained him.

As they were doing so, the victim became agitated. Ihsan then punched him in the face twice and kicked him in the shin.

The victim suffered bruising around his right eye and the accused reported the injuries to IMH management.

The victim was taken to Singapore General Hospital, where he was found to have suffered bruising and a toe fracture.

A human resource manager at IMH made a police report five days later, stating that the accused and his two colleagues who helped restrain the victim had physically assaulted the patient.

Ihsan was terminated as an IMH employee on Jan 9 last year.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Phoebe Tan urged the court to jail the accused for 10 weeks, saying he abused the trust placed in him.

Speaking through an interpreter, Ihsan asked for leniency, saying he had a family in Johor Baru depending on him.

District Judge Teo Guan Kee said nothing in his mitigation justified a reduction in the sentence asked by the prosecution. But he said he would take into account the accused reporting the injuries.

An IMH spokesman said: "Two other staff were also investigated in relation to this incident... (they) are no longer employed by IMH.

"IMH has apologised to the patient and his family... The patient... is still being cared for in our hospital for his mental health condition." - THE STRAITS TIMES

COURT & CRIME