Do We Need Our Own Malpractice Insurance?

  1. This is about whistleblowers but could have been malpractice if the nurses were also named in the suit. How would the hospitals lawyers be protecting? Read the following & make your own decision.......

    ANA Files Amicus Brief in Support of Six Nurse Whistleblowers

    Washington, DC -- The American Nurses Association (ANA) has filed an amicus curiae ("friend of the court") brief on behalf of six registered nurses (RNs) from New Mexico who have chosen to stand together and act as whistleblowers regarding a physician whose alleged incompetent and unprofessional conduct is claimed in a lawsuit to have resulted in the death of a patient.

    The six nurse employees of Memorial Medical Center in Las Cruces, NM, have agreed on ethical grounds to testify in support of the patients in a lawsuit brought forth by Thomas Smith and Irene Dockray against Lorraine Martinez, D.O., an obstetrician-gynecologist. Martinez is accused of negligence and incompetence involving Smith's wife, Deborah, who died from sepsis, a massive infection, after Martinez allegedly failed to treat her. She is also accused of permanently harming Dockray during a medical procedure. Memorial Medical Center has challenged the nurses' actions, citing a provision in state regulations that prohibits the sharing of any patient information, regardless of how it may be used.

    The ANA, citing conflict and ambiguity in New Mexico law, has urged the court to protect the nurses, who are exercising their ethical responsibility. ANA argues that the application of the state regulation in question limits the ability of the nurse to report incompetent practice, which is a statutory mandate.

    "The ANA is standing behind these nurses because we support the right of RNs to disclose, reveal and disseminate their concerns about care, even when health care institutions challenge such actions and threaten the job security of nurse whistleblowers," said ANA President Mary Foley, MS, RN. "The ethical stand these nurses are taking is supported by the ANA Code of Ethics, which provides nurses with principled reasons for taking such stands regarding issues of patient safety and competent practice."

    According to court documents, the six Memorial Medical Center nurses had independently voiced concerns to their nurse managers regarding the care provided by Dr. Martinez, and noticed alleged deficiencies in her practice for several years preceding Smith's death. In addition, it is claimed that other nurses brought Martinez's alleged shortcomings to the attention of other physicians. But, according to the court documents, over a six-year period no action was taken by the hospital to investigate or correct the alleged deficiencies of Dr. Martinez's practice prior to the death of Smith and injury to Dockray.

    Of particular concern to the nurse whistleblowers is possible retaliation by the hospital. After the case was filed against Martinez and the nurses agreed to testify, one of the nurses retired and later heard from other nurses that she had been blackballed by the institution, while a second nurse allegedly was offered a job in management after being identified as a potential witness on behalf of the hospital. Several nurses have since secured their own attorneys and have also turned to the New Mexico Nurses Association and ANA legal counsel for help. But Memorial Medical Center contends that its attorney represents past and present nurses, regardless of whether those nurses have consented to hospital attorney representation.

    "The Memorial Medical Center case is particularly disturbing because it overwhelmingly points to the dangers and ambiguities inherent in a health care system that does not protect health care workers who speak up to safeguard their patients," Foley noted. "The nurses in this case were doing the right thing, but now they are being punished. That is why we need stronger state and federal protections for whistleblowing nurses and ultimately their
    patients."
    http://www.ana.org/pressrel/2001/pr0619.htm
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    So we need our own medical malpractice insurance & our own legal representation??? These nurses are testifying AGAINST the hospital & the MD yet the hospital is insisting that they use ITS lawyer to represent them! - even though the nurses have their own legal counsel thru their association & solely for their own protection & interests. WHY is the hospital trying to stop the nurses from using their own lawyers. Why would the hosptial try so hard to force the nurses who are testifying against it to use ITS lawyer to represent them. Could it be so the nurses can get the shaft? hmmmmmmmm.....
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  2. 2 Comments

  3. by   Barbara Rose
    Ihave always carried my own malpractice insurance because I don't want to rely on my employer to protect me, after all they don't do it at work, they don't care about me other than as a commodity, so why would they protect me? It might be in their best interest to throw me to the wolves. So, for $100 a year or so, I know I am protected. Now, depending on my job, that insurance can be higher, this year I paid alot more, but I still feel it is worth it and I feel all nurses should protect themselves. I sure hope this turns out well, and that the nurses will be protected.
  4. by   -jt
    <Ihave always carried my own malpractice insurance because I don't want to rely on my employer to protect me, after all they don't do it at work, they don't care about me other than as a commodity, so why would they protect me? It might be in their best interest to throw me to the wolves. >

    Exactly!!! And when they turn right around to sure you for damages in odrer to recoup money they had to pay out in a case where you found liable, who is the hospital attorney going to represent then????? Who's best interests is he watching out for in that case?? When its the hospital against you.

    Forget that. We had to get our malpractice insurance in Nursing School. I still have it now 18 yrs later. I pay $80/yr for $2 million - $5 million protection. I am not depending on my employer to put my best interests first.

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Do We Need Our Own Malpractice Insurance?