A nurse was caught on the act stealing a man’s wallet via Skype from his father, in East Melbourne’s Epworth Freemasons Hospital which the Greek man and his wife visited after the premature birth of their first son. As the couple described, the nurse must have thought the room was empty but she was apparently spotted by the baby’s grandfather who was watching from Greece over a Skype connection.
First-time dad Nick, 31 (who does not want his full name published), was visiting his newborn son, born six weeks premature, when his wife Chrysa, 28, called him from the room. Speaking to local media, Chrysa described the couple’s unexpected and shocking experience: “My husband went back and his dad said to him, ‘Check your wallet, because I saw a lady come into the room and she opened your wallet and took something red’, as he does not know how the notes look in Australia. We checked and we realized that the money wasn’t there.”
A few minutes later, the nurse returned to the room and her father-in-law, who was still on Skype, identified her as the thief. The couple reported the incident to her superiors, who were also surprised as the woman was working at the hospital “for many many years,” as they said. “The hospital apologized and they were very nice with us. They said that the nurse was very upset,” Chrysa said. The young couple was told that they did not want to fire the nurse but thought it was best to let the hospital deal with the incident, while the nurse was also convinced to return the money ($20).
Epworth spokeswoman Colleen Coghlan confirmed the theft and said security cameras were being installed in public areas to prevent thefts from patient rooms, which was a rising problem. “I’m shocked. I think it was a horrible experience for the patient concerned and it is not something that anybody expects to happen when they come in to be cared for in a hospital,” she said.
Chrysa said the theft had come during a hard time for her and her husband, as just “three or four days” before the incident their son had been born six-weeks premature on September 9. “It was a shock because the baby had to stay at the hospital for another month. But all the nurses were very good with me and the baby. They made me feel secure and so, we were fine with that,” Chrysa concluded. Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation Victorian branch secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick said the union was “shocked” but believed the incident was an isolated one.