To add insulin to saline drips, resulting in the deaths of those under your care, is a heinous crime. This much is beyond dispute, and frankly I am appalled that anyone would do such a thing, let alone that someone qualified to nurse and heal would breach the trust placed in them in such a fashion. Yes, someone must pay.
Whatever happened, though, to innocent until proven guilty? Rebecca Leighton had been implicated in the murders, for that is what they were, but has been released without charge. Therefore she is, rightly or wrongly, to be considered as, and treated as, innocent. No caveats. No ifs or buts. The NMC wish to conduct an internal investigation into the matter, and that in and of itself is fine – there has been an accusation of breach of conduct and it is only right that they suspend the nurse in question until they are satisfied as to the result of the investigation. It is how it is done under any other circumstance and this is no different. She should receive full pay while suspended. She should not lose her job or registration unless the investigation turns up sufficient breach of conduct to warrant such drastic action. This is what we mean by fair trial and as a civilised society it is our duty to abide by those tenets.
For a moment, imagine you are innocent and stand accused of the murder of three people. You name is dragged through the mud, you receive death threats, you lose your job and everyone you know turns against you. You are destroyed, regardless of your innocence, and the repercussions of that will resonate through the rest of your life, despite the nature or quantity of retractions and apologies.
Yes, the killer must be found. No, I do not know any better than anyone else who has done it. It may have been Ms Leighton and that is yet to be ascertained – in the same way, it could have been me, but nobody assumes my guilt. On principle I will defend her innocence until it is proven beyond reasonable doubt that she was responsible, and I hope that you will do the same. Reactionary lynchings are what our justice system is designed to prevent.
Evidence based practice.