A midwife who stole two bank accounts from a pregnant woman while she was being sent to an operating theater for an emergency C section before helping to deliver her baby at south London hospital was arrested.
Lesly Puertas (a former labour ward Coordinator at Croydon University Hospital) then used the patient’s cards later in the day to make purchases at Lidl, Curry’s, and Tesco’s
After pleading guilty in July 2019 to four counts fraud by false representation, two fraud by abuse position and two counts theft at Croydon Magistrates Court, she was sentenced to a suspended prison term
After she was struck from the nursing register on Wednesday, however, it became clear that her past offending was revealed.
Ms Puertas was registered as a midwife with the Croydon Health Services NHS Trust in September 2012. She was then promoted to band seven coordinator in February 2018.
The suspicions first surfaced in December of that year. However, the trust discovered she had lied about the shifts she had worked.
Croydon University Hospital, where Ms Puertas robbed two bank cards of a pregnant woman being taken to an operating room.
Ms Puertas authorized time sheets for November 18 and December 9. However, when her swipe cards were audited, it was found that she had not worked on either of the days.
She was sent a final warning and demotion.
Ms Puertas was the final warning when, during pregnancy, she stole the bank cards of the woman and her husband.
She was on duty between 3am-5am on May 1, 2019. On that date, she took over the care for Patient A.
The patient was referred to an operating theatre for an urgent C-section.
Ms Puertas accessed the room with the patient’s belongings before she entered theatre.
Once inside, she took two of the woman’s bank cards before proceeding to assist in the delivery of her baby.
When she finished her shift, Ms Puertas drove to a Lidl supermarket in nearby Thornton Heath and used the stolen Halifax card belonging to the patient’s husband to purchase goods to the value of £22.18.
She then proceeded to drive to Tesco Esso and filled up her car with £29.50 worth of petrol using the woman’s Lloyds bank card.
The spree continued with a trip to Curry’s in Brixton, where Ms Puertas spent £24.99 using the husband’s card, before a trip to Tesco’s in Streatham where she purchased goods to the value of £18.60 returning back to using the pregnant woman’s card.
Ms Puertas, a suspect in the theft of bank cards and false timesheets, was interviewed by police on May 22nd 2019. She admitted all charges.
She appeared before Croydon Magistrates Court on July 29, 2019, where she pleaded guilty for all charges.
Ms. Puertas stated that she was sorry for the offenses, but was removed from the nursing register
She was sentenced to 22 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, ordered to undertake 200 hours of unpaid work, pay £500 in compensation and complete 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days.
Ms Puertas was placed under an interim suspension by the Nursing and Midwifery Council. This order prevented her from being a midwife while an investigation was conducted.
After it was discovered that she was offering her midwifery services via a Facebook post to a local organization, the NMC received a second referral.
The post read: “FREE ZOOM 1 CALL WITH A MOTHER for your participation! I am a mummy and I would love your opinions. I want the community to prosper!
‘And I need your help to do it. The survey is not long or complicated at all just 7 questions.’
A link was provided to a survey.
Ms Puertas addressed a letter at the NMC panel, in which she stated that she had let her children and herself down.
She said, “I am deeply sorry and embarrassed for my actions.” I fully understand the gravity of my actions, as well as the fact that I let my Trust team, my children, and myself down.
“I am proud of my personal and professional conduct. I am the kind of person who wouldn’t touch anything that doesn’t belong to me, and I am disgusted that I have gone so far as to commit this crime.
The panel stated that the statement displayed a high level of insight and remorse.
In a Wednesday report, however, it was decided to remove her from the register.
The panel concluded: ‘The panel considered that Ms Puertas’ behaviour raised fundamental questions about her integrity, trustworthiness and professionalism and was a significant departure from the standards expected of a registered midwife.
“The panel determined that Miss Puertas’ continued inclusion on the NMC registry would undermine professional standards and public confidence and support for the midwifery profession.
“It was determined 22 that a striking off order was the only appropriate and proportionate sanction that would protect the public.