A Former Nurse for Stephen Hawking Has Been Barred for Misconduct

March 12, 2019, 6:38 PM UTC

A former nurse of the late physicist Stephen Hawking was barred from practicing Tuesday after an independent panel determined she abused her position as a care provider.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council struck nurse Patricia Dowdy from its registry, citing multiple misconduct charges including financial misconduct, dishonesty, not providing appropriate care, and not having the correct qualifications.

“The panel has found Mrs Dowdy failed to provide the standards of good, professional care that we expect and Professor Hawking deserved,” Matthew McClelland, director of fitness to practice at the NMC, said in a statement. “As a result, Mrs Dowdy will no longer be able to practice as a nurse.”

Dowdy worked for Hawking from 1999 to 2004, then again from 2013 to 2016, when she was given an interim suspension, the Associated Press reports. Hawking—who lived with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as ALS, for more than 50 years—died in March of 2018 at the age of 76.

The investigation into Dowdy allegedly started with a complaint filed by the Hawking family, the AP reports. Her hearing was held behind closed doors to protect patient privacy.

Elder abuse—which includes psychological abuse, financial abuse, neglect, and physical or sexual abuse—affects one in six older adults worldwide, according to a 2017 global health study. Despite being a prevalent problem, elder abuse is not addressed as frequently as other types of violence, the analysts wrote.