The London-based nurse caught on video accidentally turning off her paralyzed patient’s ventilator — thus leaving him seriously brain-damaged — is Filipina, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed Thursday.

In a statement, the DFA said the Philippine Embassy in London is assisting 55-year-old Violeta Aylward, who was caught on a CCTV turning off the life-support system of her British patient in January 2009.

“The Embassy has reached out to the Filipina and conveyed its readiness to assist her. It is also actively monitoring developments of the case," the DFA said.

The DFA said Aylward’s license was suspended in October last year by the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the British government’s regulatory board, and that the nurse is currently awaiting a schedule for a formal hearing of her case.

“The matter has been the subject of investigation by the United Kingdom Crown Prosecution Service, which did not find sufficient basis to file a criminal case against Ms. Aylward," the DFA added.

The video, by the Telegraph on its website on Oct. 25, shows Aylward pressing a button on the patient’s ventilator, which then emitted high-pitched warning sounds indicating that the machine was switched off.

The CCTV was installed by the patient himself, the report said, after he had expressed dissatisfaction with the quality of care he was getting from Ambition 24hours, the agency Aylward worked for.

The report identified the patient as 37-year-old Jamie Merrett, who became paralyzed from the neck down after a 2002 car accident.

The video also shows Aylward attempting to restart the ventilator. Unable to do so, she tried to operate the resuscitation equipment but instead of connecting it to the hole in the patient’s neck, Aylward placed it in his mouth.

With paramedics able to restart the machine only 21 minutes after, Merrett was starved of oxygen and sustained “severe" brain damage, leaving him with a mental capacity of a young child, the Telegraph said.

Prior to the incident, Merret’s family said the patient was able to talk, use a wheelchair and operate a computer using voice-activated technology. A separate report by the Daily Mail described Aylward as a learning disabilities nurse who had no previous training in intensive care and in managing ventilated patients.

Since the incident caused serious brain damage to Merret and diminished his quality of life, the family is now preparing to take legal action.

"His life is completely changed. He doesn't have a life now. He has an existence but it's nowhere near what it was before," Merrett’s sister Karen Reynolds told BBC’s Inside Out.

Ambition 24hours, the agency which supplied Aylward to care for Merrett at his home in Devizes in Wiltshire, has declined to comment on the issue saying an internal investigation is ongoing.

The NHS Wiltshire Primary Care Trust (PCT), the local government’s health institute, said in a statement it is investigating the January 2009 incident.

"We have apologized to the patient and his family for this, and have put in place a series of actions to ensure that such an event will not occur again either for this patient or others," the PCT said in a statement quoted by the Telegraph.


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