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Kiren Basarke HF11998
Full text for: KIREN BASARKE #HF-1199-8
Discipline Committee Of The College Of Nurses Of Ontario
The following is a public record of the hearing between the
DECISION AND REASONS
A panel of the discipline Committee convened on June 16-17, 1998, to hear allegations brought by the College of Nurses of Ontario against Kiren Basarke, RPN. In the absence of the Member or her representative, the hearing was adjourned for approximately 30 minutes before proceeding in order to provide a period of time for the Member to appear.
Having awaited sufficient time for the Member to present herself, the panel reconvened the hearing and received the Notice of Hearing, which was entered into evidence as Exhibit #1.
In the absence of the Member and/or her representative, counsel for the College of Nurses (CNO) introduced evidence (Exhibit #2) to the panel that the College had attempted to contact the Member many times between February 5 and June 4, 1998. The Notice of Hearing and disclosure documents were successfully delivered to her on June 4, 1998, in person, proof of which was introduced as Exhibit #3.
The panel was therefore satisfied that it was appropriate to proceed in the Member's absence.
The panel acceded to a request by the College counsel that a publication ban be placed in effect concerning the identity of the client.
CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS AS SUMMARIZED BY THE COLLEGE
Counsel for the College summarized the events of the case against Ms Basarke as follows:
The Member was employed as an RPN at The Glebe Centre in Ottawa providing care to long-term clients including [client]. On April 23, 1997, the Member attended the [bank] branch at [address] in Ottawa and presented a bank card in the name of [client] and used this card to withdraw $500 from [client]'s account. In conducting the transaction at the bank, the Member represented herself as [client], the holder of the account, and not someone acting on her behalf.
Despite some concerns, the teller, [teller], was convinced to release the funds to Ms Basarke. The following day, the teller, having doubts about the transaction, requested the signature card of [client] which was located at the [bank] branch at [bank address #2]. Both the teller and his supervisor agreed the signature on the withdrawal slip did not match the signature on the signature card. An investigation was initiated by the bank.
The bank contacted The Glebe Centre [centre], the client's place of residence, concerning the bank transaction. Centre staff told the bank they thought it most unlikely that [client], an elderly client suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, had been to the bank to withdraw funds. The staff went to the [bank] to view the bank's surveillance videotape and identified Ms Basarke as the person involved in the transaction. Bank teller, [teller], also viewed the videotape and identified a woman as being the individual who had presented the bank card and withdrawal slip to him and who had received the funds. This was the same person the Centre staff had identified as Ms Basarke.
Ms Basarke was employed at The Glebe Centre from 1987 until her dismissal in 1997. She took pregnancy or parental leave from April, 1996, and returned to work in January, 1997, as an RPN. From January, 1997, until her dismissal, she held herself out as an RPN, was scheduled to work as an RPN, was paid in accordance with the RPN rate of pay and signed patient records "RPN".
CNO records show that Ms Basarke had been notified that if she did not pay her annual fee, her Certificate of Registration would be suspended. She was subsequently informed by CNO that her Certificate of Registration had been suspended as of April 27, 1996, for non-payment of fees.
EVIDENCE REGARDING ALLEGATIONS # 4-6
College records (Exhibit #4) indicated that Ms Basarke's registration was on hold, and that the College had informed her in two separate letters (Exhibit #5) that she was in default of payment of fees and that subsequently her certificate had been suspended as of April 27, 1996. There was no evidence that the Member had responded to either of the communications.
WITNESS, [witness #1]
[Witness #1], Program Manger at the Centre, appeared as a witness. [Witness #1], Ms Basarke's supervisor from the period January to April, 1997, testified that Ms Basarke had returned to work on the unit as of January, 1997, as an RPN following her parental/pregnancy leave. [Witness #1] identified the following Centre documents:
RPN job description from the Centre’s Operating Policies and Procedures, Medical/Nursing Services department manual (Exhibit #6) signed by Ms Basarke in 1991.
The Centre’s Employee Time Schedule (RPN Rotation) April 1, 1997, showing Ms Basarke's scheduled days worked and time off (Exhibit #7).
The Daily Nursing Sign-In Sheet, Unit 3, showing Ms Basarke's signature with the designation "RPN" (Exhibit #8).
The Multi-disciplinary Progress Notes signed by Ms Basarke using the designation "RPN" on seven different occasions between January and April, 1997 (Exhibit #9).
DECISION OF THE PANEL
Having heard the testimony and reviewed the exhibits, the panel found the evidence presented by the College clear, cogent and convincing, and therefore made a finding of professional misconduct with regard to Allegations 4, 5 and 6 in the notice of Hearing.
EVIDENCE REGARDING ALLEGATIONS 1,2 AND 3.
WITNESS, [Witness #1]
[Witness #1] testified she had been contacted by the [bank] on April 24, 1997, concerning [client]'s apparent withdrawal of funds from her account. She testified this information came as a surprise as she believed [client] was incapable of managing her own financial affairs and had a representative with Power of Attorney. [Witness #1] also testified she and her colleague [colleague], had been invited April 24, 1997 to view a videotape from the surveillance camera of the [bank]. She said she had been able to identify Ms Basarke as the individual on the videotape involved in a transaction at the bank which occurred on April 23, 1997.
Six individual still photographs (reproduced from the bank videotape of April 23, 1997) were entered into evidence (Exhibit #10) and the witness identified Ms Basarke in each of the photographs.
The panel then reviewed the bank videotape (Exhibit #11), along with the witness, who identified Ms Basarke in a number of frames.
[Witness #1] testified that following the viewing of the videotape, a letter of suspension from the Centre (Exhibit #12) was presented to Ms Basarke. She testified that Ms Basarke, at that time, did not deny the allegations of theft and impersonation contained in the letter of suspension.
[Witness #1] testified that Ms Basarke failed to respond to the Centre's letter requesting a meeting (Exhibit #13). She told the panel that Ms Basarke was then informed by letter that she was being terminated from her employment for theft, effective May 13, 1997 (Exhibit #14).
The witness also testified she had been subpoenaed to appear as a witness in Ms Basarke's criminal trial, which as yet has not proceeded because of re-scheduling.
WITNESS, [Witness #2]
[Bank] teller, [witness #2], told the panel that on April 23, 1997, a lady presented him with a bank card and withdrawal slip in the amount of $500 and asked to withdraw $500 from her account. He testified that the signature on the bank card and the withdrawal slip appeared to him to match. However, he also noticed at the time that the card had a senior's designation, the woman did not know the account number and provided him with an address different from the one listed for the card owner. Despite these anomalies, he issued the funds to the woman.
A photocopy of the withdrawal slip (front and back) and [client]'s signature card was entered into evidence (Exhibit #15). The witness testified that the bank imprint on the back of the withdrawal slip showing the date and time of the withdrawal (1997/04/23-16:41) correlated with the date and time stamp on the videotape which showed Ms Basarke at [witness #2]'s wicket.
[Witness #2] said that later that evening he gave some further thought to the transaction and the following morning requested the [client]'s signature card from the branch at [branch address]. Finding that the signature on the withdrawal slip and the signature card did not appear to match, he reported the matter to his supervisor, [witness #3]. He told the panel that he then viewed the bank surveillance videotape and was able to identify the woman involved in the transaction at his wicket.
WITNESS, [Witness #3]
[Witness #3], [witness #2]'s supervisor and Assistant Manager, Customer Services, at the branch, testified that [witness #2] approached her on April 24, 1997, and reported a suspected forgery on a withdrawal slip, which she also concluded did not match the signature on the signature card.
[Witness #3] told the panel that she subsequently witnessed the viewing of the bank surveillance videotape by the Centre personnel, who, she said, identified Ms Basarke as the woman who appeared on the videotape at [witness #2]'s wicket. She also testified that [witness #2] had identified the woman as well.
[Witness #3] told the panel that $500 had been restored to [client]'s account by the [bank], but that no restitution had been made to the bank by Ms Basarke.
The panel found the evidence presented by the College to be clear, cogent and convincing and that on that basis made a finding of professional misconduct with respect to Allegations 1,2 and 3.
In the absence of any evidence presented by the Member or counsel representing the Member, the panel reached its decision on penalty on the basis of evidence presented to them solely by the College of Nurses of Ontario. The panel accepted the College's submission on penalty as appropriate and ordered that the Member's registration be revoked. The panel also orders Ms Basarke to attend at the College for an oral reprimand and that the decision and penalty be published.
The penalty, the panel agreed, provides a deterrent to both the Member and the College membership. With regard to Ms Basarke, the panel agrees with counsel for the College that her failure to attend or acknowledge her accountability to the College demonstrated disregard for the authority of the College and the Discipline Committee.
Given the circumstances of the case and the fact that the panel was offered no evidence of mitigating circumstances, no explanation and no expression of regret or remorse from the Member, the panel had concern about the prospect for the Member's rehabilitation.
This type of serious misconduct – misappropriation of a client's property, impersonation of a client and misrepresentation of oneself as a registered Member of the College – undermines the public's confidence in the profession as a whole. Revocation sends a clear message to the public and emphasizes that College members find this type of behaviour reflects negatively on their profession and should not be tolerated.