A year has passed since the brilliant scientist Stephen Hawking left this world. He devoted most of his life to science although his health condition was very poor. The debilitating motor neuron disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – ALS) he has had in the past five decades did not stop him from making scientific breakthroughs. Unfortunately, last year, he passed away in Cambridge, England, in his home.
Now, one year later, his nurse that has been caring for Hawking for 15 years is currently being investigated. The investigation is not linked to the scientist’s death, for now. However, Patricia Dowdy, the 61-year-old nurse, got suspended for “misconduct” while caring for the scientist.
Patricia Dowdy’s Services Not Up to The Council’s Standards
According to BBC, Dowdy is now under London’s Nursing and Midwifery Council investigation. The six-week hearing will end this month, and so far the officials have proof of misconduct. The nurse got an interim suspension in 2016, and the council’s reports stated that Dowdy did not “provide the standards of good, professional care we expect and Professor Hawking deserved.”
BBC also stated that the nurse did not provide the appropriate care for the scientist, and was accused of “financial misconduct, dishonesty.”
At the moment, aside from the suspension and not being able to continue to work in medical care, there are no official details on the repercussions. The hearing is not public, and there is no other information about Dowdy’s “misconduct” and whether they were related to the scientist’s death or not.
Hawking’s family thanked the council for investigating the nurse.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Hawking’s disease progressed slowly, and living until the age of 76 was a miracle doctors couldn’t explain, considering ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) has a fast progression, and the survival rate is very low. Since the disease starts, survival is from 2 to 4 years, and only 10% of cases will survive longer than ten years.
There is no cure for ALS, only supportive care and offering a better quality of life can help prolong survival. Would have Stephen Hawking lived longer with better nursing care? We will soon find out when the investigation is made public.
Brad is a former Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, is an award-winning travel, culture, and parenting writer. His writing has appeared in many of the Canada’s most respected and credible publications, including the Toronto Star, CBC News and on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine. A meticulous researcher who’s not afraid to be controversial, he is nationally known as a journalist who opens people’s eyes to the realities behind accepted practices in the care of children. Brad is a contributing journalist to Advocator.ca