Mental Health Nurse's License is Suspended for Placing Patient in a Choke Hold

Mental health nurse has license suspended for placing patient in a choke hold

A mental health nurse's license was suspended after putting a patient in a choke hold and sticking a finger in the patient's eye. 


The Board of Nursing in Austrailia is alleging that Brian Roha Smith is guilty of misconduct at Joondalup Health Campus' Mental Health Unit. where the nurse worked in 2014.


Prior to the incident the facility had a meeting for all nurses regarding intramuscular injections and concluded that the best way for compliance would be to discuss the injection with the patients one-on-one. But the patient was still  non-compliant with his medication. 


Smith was administering the medication when the patient became combative and began yelling,  "you're all fucked."

"The patient began shouting at and verbally abusing the nursing staff, including the respondent."

"The respondent was one of the last nurses in the room when he became involved in a physical altercation with the patient."

During the altercation, they both fell off the bed and the patient was on his back with the nurse on top of him. 

According to the judgment against Smith, "The respondent's arm was around the patient's neck [appearing] to restrict the patient's airway, while the patient punched the respondent several times on his head and face," 
"The respondent maintained the hold for approximately 10-15 seconds."

"The patient told the respondent to 'get off me' or words to that effect and the respondent placed his finger into the patient's left eye."

"The patient was pulling on the respondent's hair and the respondent shouted for the patient to stop."

"During this time, nursing staff instructed the respondent to 'let go' or words to that effect; and the respondent released the patient, following which he placed his hand on the patient's throat and stood up by placing pressure on that area of the patient to push himself up."

The patient was transported to the emergency room where he was treated for his injuries. 

Mr. Smith resigned and agreed to cease and desist nursing till the investigation has been completed. 

Smith admitted to the board that he used "unnecessary and unreasonable force" and restrained the patient inappropriately. 

According to the board, he didn't respect the Code of Professional Conduct for Nurses in Austrailia. Instead, he disrespected the patient in his care. He did not provide safe nursing care nor did he foster a feeling of trust,  because of his actions. 

He explained to the board that he has been in the nursing profession for 30 years without incident or disciplinary action.  He admitted that he feared for his safety and the altercation was extremely stressful for him. 

According to the judgment, "The respondent considers it was a very sudden situation that happened very quickly, his adrenaline was running high and he was disoriented from the punches to his head and the fall to the floor," 

Smith was fined $1700 and ordered to complete additional education in aggression management, de-escalation, and resolution of conflicts.