State investigates claim nurse slapped dying woman

Queensland Health has appointed an independent investigator to look into claims that a short-tempered nurse slapped a dying and non-verbal patient across the face.

Widower Gary Begley claims his highly vulnerable wife who couldn't talk due to a stroke was slapped at Maryborough Hospital and he has gone to extreme lengths in his bid to remove "this bad apple" from the health system.

His "sweetheart" passed away aged 65 on June 25.

Lesley Begley communicated via a picture chart claiming she was scared of the nurse.

Widower Gary Begley says his wife Lesley, who was non-verbal because of a stroke, was able to communicate her fear.
Widower Gary Begley says his wife Lesley, who was non-verbal because of a stroke, was able to communicate her fear.

"At the time my girl was very frightened and her fears were communicated to three different members of staff. But I felt little was done then to source out the bad apple," Mr Begley said.

The Fraser Coast man took his complaint to the Health Minister, his local MP, the Health Ombudsman, the Queensland Police and the Crime and Corruption Commission.

This week the chief executive of the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service Debbie Carroll wrote to Mr Begley saying she had appointed an independent external investigator to look into the reported incident.

Gary and Lesley Begley, who died last month at the age of 65.
Gary and Lesley Begley, who died last month at the age of 65.

"My wife in her final days made it clear that she wanted me to take the incident to the police. She slapped herself on the face to show me exactly what had happened. She was paralysed down the right side and it was an effort to display what happened but she was the type of woman who would not want this to happen to any other vulnerable patient. I have gone to great lengths to do the right thing by my girl," Mr Begley said.

Lesley Begley was a dental nurse who worked in local schools.
Lesley Begley was a dental nurse who worked in local schools.

Lesley Begley was a dental nurse, who worked with children in local schools. She was the mother of two boys. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer two years ago and had a bad reaction to chemotherapy which caused a stroke.

Gary moved his wife out of Maryborough Hospital and into a private aged and palliative care centre in Hervey Bay. He brought her home for her last days so she felt at peace.

"I hired nurses to look after her at home. These nurses put in writing how Lesley was filled with anxiety and fear around them until she realised they were kind. They wrote that although Lesley was non-verbal, she was a very accomplished communicator through her facial expressions, hand gestures and her folder of pictures and words," Mr Begley said.


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