A nurse who cared for Professor Stephen Hawking has been struck off the nursing register after the Nursing and Midwifery Council found her guilty of misconduct.
61-year-old Patricia Dowdy was previously suspended on an interim basis and began her hearing on 11 February. The council ruled that Dowdy had 'failed to provide the standards of good, professional care that we expect and Professor Hawking deserved'.
She worked with the famous scientist and author for 15 years, until his death last year at the age of 76. At the time of his passing, Hawking had been living with motor neurone disease for 50 years.
Dowdy had been charged with dishonesty, failing to provide appropriate care, not possessing the correct qualifications, financial misconduct, and failing to co-operate with the NMC.
Professor Stephen Hawking giving a talk in 2016. Credit: PA
Matthew McClelland, the NMC's director of Fitness to Practise, said: "The panel has found Mrs Dowdy failed to provide the standards of good, professional care that we expect and Professor Hawking deserved.
"As a result, Mrs Dowdy will no longer be able to practise as a nurse.
"As the public rightly expects, in serious cases such as this - where a nurse has failed in their duty of care and has not been able to evidence to the panel that they have learned from their mistakes and be fit to practise - we will take action.
"We have remained in close contact with the Hawking family throughout this case and I am grateful to them - as they approach the anniversary of Professor Hawking's death - and others for sharing their concerns with us.
"My thoughts are with the family at this difficult time."
Hawking wrote many books during his long scientific career. Credit: PA
The NMC also issued a statement on behalf of Stephen Hawking's family. A spokesperson said: "They had complete confidence in the NMC, and their thorough investigation, and trusted they would come to an independent conclusion based on the facts in the case."
Despite his long and well-publicised battle with illness, Hawking became one of the most prominent and recognisable figures in the world of science. As well as his work with Cambridge University, he also wrote several successful books, including 'A Brief History of Time'.
The decision to investigate Dowdy was allegedly taken after Hawking's family lodged a complaint against her. The tribunal was held in secret to respect the needs of the individuals involved rather than serve the public interest.
Hawking's daughter Lucy and son Timothy attend his funeral in 2018. Credit: PA
When the hearing commenced last month, McClelland had said: "Our legislation and guidance is very clear that hearings will usually take place in public.
"In some cases, including this particular case, there are reasons why this may not always happen - due to the health of those involved in the case, or that the allegations are related to a health condition of the nurse or midwife.
"Public interest is always considered but the panel must always put the individual needs of all those involved, including families, patients, nurses, midwives and nursing associates, first."
The hearing was held at the NMC headquarters in London.
Featured Image Credit: PA