Philip Dewey and Jessica Walford of Wales Online report a scientist who didn’t want to work day shifts swapped his own feces with a patient who had salmonella to prove to his bosses he had food poisoning.
Bernard Watkins worked as a biomedical scientist in the microbiology department at Cwm Taf University Health Board.
After he was handed day shifts, instead of his preferred night shifts, he went into a freezer at work and took a patient sample which had tested positive for salmonella before using a computer at work to check a patient’s confidential details and make sure they had the disease.
But days later he confessed all to one of his bosses – admitting he had “spiked” his sample.
Mr Watkins was due to appear before a conduct and competence panel of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) for allegations of dishonesty, misconduct and whether his fitness to practise has been impaired, but the hearing was held in his absence.
The panel heard on Thursday how on October 10, 2016, Mr Watkins, who had 20 years service at the time, told his bosses he was unable to come into work as he feeling unwell and suffering from diarrhoea and vomiting.
He left a fecal sample in the office on the same date.
Two days later, on October 12, he called his employers to say he wouldn’t be working for the rest of the week as he remained unwell.
The same day the fecal sample tested positive for salmonella.
One of his bosses, Kelly Ward, the manager for Microbiology, phoned Mr Watkins and asked him to submit another fecal sample signed by his GP.
On October 13 Mr Watkins explained to Mrs Ward he had been to his GP and provided the sample. But the sample tested negative for salmonella.
On October 17 Mr Watkins returned to work and Mrs Ward completed a return to work form. She discussed concerns with him going off work when he was required to work day shifts instead of his preferred night shifts.
But just two days later, as Mr Watkins was finishing a night shift which ended at 8am, he called Mrs Ward and asked to meet her when she got into work.
He told her he “deliberately contaminated” a sample of a patient who had salmonella with his own feces by adding in his own fecal matter, saying his employer would have “found out anyway”.