Moral Dilemma

  1. I have a moral dilemma and I'm not quite sure how to handle this. Here is the situation:

    On Wednesday last week, in our clinic, an elderly man coded. Naturally, the MA ran into the nurse triage room and called for some help. I was the first nurse to arrive to see this man basically aphasic in his wheelchair. The MD and I assisted him to the floor, could not find a pulse and began CPR. Soon the crash cart arrived, and several of our urgent care staff arrived. An IV was started by one of our triage nurses. At this point, I stepped back and allowed the other staff to take over (my background is L&D and have only been at this clinic for a year and have only coded neonates in my career ) I was standing behind the exam table and was basically cornered in there, but took the time to observe. The paramedics arrived and once they assumed care, we left as it was quite crowded in there.


    2 days later, on Friday, I was in a supervisor's office about to interview for a new position. Before the interview officially started, the supervisor was talking with another individual (who I do not know) and was mentioning how 2 of the urgent care nurses are filing for workman's comp as they injured their back moving the exam table.

    At this point I flipped out because I was there the whole time and no one moved the exam table! I was behind it! Alot of people didn't notice me because I actually was behind one of the urgent care nurses! My dilemma is...do I report this obvious fraud? Or do I not? I have information that I am not privy to (their medical conditions of injury) so there is a confidentiality issue. I am at a loss on what to do.
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  2. 24 Comments

  3. by   babynurselsa
    I would say you should report what you know.
    This is fraud. It is this kind of bull that makes insurance costs to high. And puts people out of work when businesses fold up due to the cost increases of carrying the policies.
    I teach my kids not to tattle, but I also teach my kids to be honest.
  4. by   SKM-NURSIEPOOH
    ...let them know that you were there & saw everything. there was no one on the exam table during the emergency; how & or why could two people trained in using body mechanics be able to put their backs out...together. it's not like they lifted the table with a patient on it or anything...my question would be to them...if they injured themselves as they claim, have them demonstrate exactly how it was done.

    once you talk with them & they realize that you're not willing to be a party to fraud..tell them that you'll step back to allow them to do the right thing & retract their claim...you know... as long as their back injury has a"sudden recovery" ...you won't report them. but if they play stupid...then you'll have no other recourse except to report them. i'm not sure if that sounds like black-mail or extortion :imbar but perhaps it'll be effective.
    Last edit by SKM-NURSIEPOOH on Apr 22, '02
  5. by   Agnus
    Be careful it just could be this was a different situation or time they are talking about. Maby they moved the table later for some reason.

    You might simply say to the supervisor That you could not stop thinking about what you heard in her office that day. Tell her that if the injury happened during the code that you have some information that she should know.
  6. by   thisnurse
    id say...gosh im sorry you guys got hurt at that code. i was there during the code and i dont remember you moving the exam table. if you had asked me to help you, i would have been glad to.
  7. by   Teshiee
    I would report it! Because there is always someone trying to skate up hill! Besides what drives hospitals to not reward employees with good raises when people abuse the system. I could see if it were true but it is not! Go for what you feel!
  8. by   Furball
    Definitely report it. This is the reason why people legitimately injured are treated like criminals while on WC.
  9. by   MHN
    suzy .need to follow your heart "listen to the little voice of your concencience" tell the truth.
  10. by   traumaRUs
    Report it. Simple.
  11. by   CATHYW
    As everyone has said, report it. I am an Occ Med/WC Nurse,and I would say that this is like cheating on an exam. If you know of it, you have a moral obligation to report it. I would further state that most claims involve an investigation, and always ask who else was present, and if they witnessed the injury. Since you were a participant from the beginning to the time you left the room, you would have knowledge of what was going on up until the time you left. Do your duty as a witness.
  12. by   Stargazer
    I agree with the suggestion of cornering the two privately with what you saw and allowing them a chance to recant to save face. Give them a deadline (hours, not days). If they don't 'fess up, nail 'em.
  13. by   shay
    Susy, you've gotta report it. Check back in and tell us what happens.........
  14. by   hapeewendy
    susy my friend , I suggest you report it
    but HUGE DISCLAIMER HERE :
    I would do it in the following way
    first of all I would approach the supervisor in a manner that is non accusatory of your co workers
    sometimes people in positions of "power" or managerial power that is will try to pitt one against another for their greater good, in this case the supervisors greater good would be no injuries sustained to keep a shiny clean record of her workers health etc
    I wouldnt approach the nurses right away, because honestly you shouldnt have knowledge of any claims they may or may not be making as far as workmans comp and work related injuries goes, that stuff should be confidential and the supervisor shouldnt have mentioned it with you around in the first place.
    but I agree with your dilemma, I would have a hard time not saying something to someone about the fact that you knew they werent injured at that particular code
    and thats exactly what you say to your supervisor.
    you say that you couldnt help but overhear him/her when they were discussing the fact that 2 nurses got injured at a code and you would just like to let her know that the particular code you were involved in went without sustained injury.
    this way he/she can investigate and see if infact it *Was* that code that people are fudging complaints on and if so , act accordingly, and if not, it doesnt look like you are a tattle tale it just looks like you wanted to report that there was a code that no one sustained an injury in

    you cant be silent, that will eat away at you, I know, sometimes having morals can be a pain in the *Beep*
    but its all in the way you tell what you know....

    good luck
    keep us posted

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