Retaliation for voicing concern over unsafe pratices - page 12
Hi, I am looking for some insight into retaliation acts by employers.I am a RN in a ICU setting at a major teaching hospital.I have been a resource to my entire unit.I received a promotion only... Read More
Dec 23, '05Thats the trouble with administration now days, they think we are all just disposables. YOU GO GURL... I hope you get back everything AND more!
Dec 23, '05Quote from panhandlerAnd people say I should become and RN??? Why oh why???OMG OMG OMG
What I am seeing here is the tip of the iceberg.
Here's what we know:
1)The "nursing shortage" is a manufactured lie.
2)Experienced, innovative nurses are ground to a pulp by the system, ON PURPOSE.
3)There is WAGE-FIXING rampant in the healthcare industry for RN's.
4)The Nurses Associations have been de-clawed, de-fanged and de-balled. There is no effective representation for nurses.
5)Retaliation is broad throughout the health care industry when it comes to quality improvement initiatives, and any action designed to adjust patient ratios to reflect safe staffing.
6)There is no nation-wide pension plan specifically for nurses; there is no nation-wide health coverage for nurses; there simply is "no money": no money for nursing educators, , nursing legal issues, and nursing rights. There isn't even any g/d representative of the profession for our funerals when we die.
Who's got the cujones to take on this outrageous problem?
Dec 23, '05Why should you become an R.N.? some factoids:
.Only 60% of registered nurses are employed in acute care hospitals.
.Nurses in the profession are viewed as trustworthy, according to public opinion poles.
.YOu have to be an RN to open a nursing home so you can nuzzle up to the Federal Teat.
Dec 23, '05Quote from panhandlerAnd what did that have to do with the price of rice in Sumatra?:chuckleWhy should you become an R.N.? some factoids:
.Only 60% of registered nurses are employed in acute care hospitals.
.Nurses in the profession are viewed as trustworthy, according to public opinion poles.
.YOu have to be an RN to open a nursing home so you can nuzzle up to the Federal Teat.
Dec 23, '05Quote from sallyrncnorsally....no such luck.i am in the south.in my state we have no union.this "nurse" has such a brash.."in your face" "argumentative" personality that most people avoid her.i have witnessed screaming matches between herself and physicians...and often times it is over topics or events that she hasnt had all the information she needs to intelligently "take a position" opposed or for the physician.most people just avoid her really.then ....part of me kinda feels sorry for her.she must have felt really desperate to do what she did.so ..on that aspect...my heart breaks for her.but it doesnt change the facts.could i ever trust her or this nm again? h*** no!can that facility trust them?no.if that hc facility does nothing in my case...then they have inadvertently given them permission to do "anything" they want right or wrong...and their risk management can not complain when they pick up the tab...bc....by not acting they "gave them permission".dear tnn:
my thoughts and wishes are with you. what a terrible way to treat a long term dedicated employee. you didn't mention if your facility was represented by a union. if so you cannot be fired without probable cause. you have no other write-ups in your file to prove that you have been anything other than an exemplary employee. i would suggest that you speak to your union rep before making any decisions.
if you are not represented by a union, may i suggest that you do contact a lawyer and give him all the pertinent information. if you have either documentation, or corroborative evidence that this other nurse has been behaving unsafely, i don't think that the hospital would be willing to undergo the public scrutiny of a trial.
i don't know what state that you are from, but i don't think it would hurt to find out your state laws regarding whistleblowing. if you have participated in any political campaigns or if you are on friendly terms with your local legislator, it wouldn't be a bad idea to speak to him/her and get them in your corner. if you have any physicians that are willing to speak in your behalf, or have witnessed any of the unsafe behavior by this employee, now would be a good time to have them speak to the hospital administrator. your hospital administrator is responsible to the local community, and it would be difficult to explain why a unsafe employee is allowed to continue in a critical care area.
and as you said"it would be difficult for that employer to explain to the public(judge/jury)../.....you are right.it will be difficult.it will be impossible.too many slippery slopes.it goes back to that old saying "oh what a tangled web we weave when at first we pratice to decieve".i think i must have "sucker" stamped on my forehead and a**. i swear....this whole thing has me still shaking my head.i never knew what hit me. i do have numerous legal options available even though we have no union.right now...i am awaiting the results of their internal investigation....which....you guys are probably right is a sham.i have been bit once ya know.bite me once-shame on you,.. bite me twice-shame on me.i actually spent more time at this "internal" investigation meeting answering questions on my actions than i did her actions. unlike her....all my actions were guided by their policies and by laws.so,,,....i wait for their results.
guage14...you guys are too bad!!!!lol
Dec 23, '05TNNURSE,
[FONT=Arial Narrow] Right, I knew that would happen. They always try to focus on you to avoid the real negligence. When I first had problems getting dumped on and left in rooms until I nearly passed out I documented the events and passed it to my Nurse Manager. I would also write up important things like how the support staff needed to stock the trauma area better for the weekend, how we should have a dedicated case cart ready for trauma as a matter of routine preparedness like every other civilized OR in the country! We just kind of scrambled for equipment to go into a trauma room at the last ditch. These issues did not target any specific individual or group and although the abandonment in rooms was symptomatic of chronic understaffing, I only ever wrote a complaint if I was left for over eight hours for absolutely no reason what-so-ever, as this one abusive Nurse Manager did. I once alerted them to an overflowing trash dumpster left in a hallway spilling infectious waste onto a C-arm that might subsequently make its way into an Ortho case where we were preparing to put in an implant; a case particularly vulnerable to infection.
[FONT=Arial Narrow] In every scenario instead of valuing my input and stating how the problem would be dealt with I would get a very defensive written reply that accused me of “causing a scene,” “rude” “loud” you name it whatever lie was needed to make me “the problem” go away. The dumpsters in the hallway issue was a major ongoing problem and repeated violation of JCAHO regulations that my Hospital routinely ignored for years. When JCAHO made their scheduled visit the place was transformed to deliberately con them into thinking we were in compliance. Now if employees were asked about this under oath in court several hundred OR staff would have to decide whether to risk jail time by committing perjury to assist the Hospital in their cover up: I don’t think so.
[FONT=Arial Narrow] I came to believe that Management was issued with a special little book of defensive remarks to help them deliberately lie to offload their responsibility. Each of these false statements went into my file as strikes against me, but I kept speaking out. Dumb I know, but very British. I was outspoken right out of the gate, not offensively so, I was very diplomatic, but persistent. My evaluations while not critical were mediocre at best; they played it safe. However, they would still have a hard time sighting incompetence due to the assignment I was covering; they would look very negligent for leaving a marginally competent person to cover a minimally staffed shift that was so professionally challenging in term of scope of practice and acuity of cases. As I see it “the proof of the pudding is in the eating” as far as how well I did my job so they have never directly attacked that. They did try and portray me as a short term employee although I had made it to the point where I was vested after five years in the OR; I was also about to move to the higher grade level at a higher pay scale due to experience, they gypped me out of that just in time.
[FONT=Arial Narrow] All the while I was being told by other employees: “nothing ever changes here” and “don’t rock the boat.” I kept speaking out, I was on the education committee and I repeatedly suggested positive changes. When the very abusive
[FONT=Arial Narrow]Nurse Manager was about to be switched to nights on the weekend where I worked a 16hour double shift I tried to change my shift and once again spoke up about how she dumped on everyone. She was never disciplined and frequently put those disparaging defensive remarks in her fabricated replies as to why I was abandoned in surgery. The point of no return for me was going above my immediate Nurse Manager to the assistant Director of Surgical Nursing to voice my concerns. I expressed myself my referring to the situation by saying that I believed we had reached a “toxic level of dangerous.” I reiterated my complaint about being left abandoned in surgery for 8, 10 and 12hours without a break for no reason and the fact that they never disciplined this abusive Manager. I was just told “she probably won’t do that again.”
[FONT=Arial Narrow] I was told I would need to post my position or I would need a doctor’s note to come off my regular double shift on Saturday night; they had their work horse sucker and they didn’t want anything to change. Although I had devised my schedule for personal reasons I knew no one else would take it on as it would have been torturous for most people. 7:00AM – 7:30PM Friday; 3:00PM – 7:30AM Saturday Night and 3:00PM – 11:30PM Sunday evening leaving me free to work on my house during the week while covering their most difficult to fill shifts over the weekend. To most it would have inflicted the equivalent of the jet lag of flying to Europe and back once a week. For someone who was not disciplined in their sleep patterns it would have been impossible, after 20 years at sea I could cope. However, it should have been enough to say, hey I have done this for 2years, I needed to stop, but no, I had to prove that I had a medical condition. I came up with several alternative schedules all of them covering weekend shifts that were hard for the Managers to cover, but they were not interested in negotiations: I was scheduled for removal at all costs.
[FONT=Arial Narrow] Healthcare workers all over the US are in a similar position of trying to prove that they have a medical condition that makes them unfit to tolerate the habitually abusive circumstances under which they are expected to work. Why couldn’t I go for 12hours without water, food, or urination? My Nurse Manager suggested that I might need to be “evaluated for a sugar problem.” Under the Geneva Convention we cannot treat POWs with this degree of inhumanity! We need to stand up to Management and compare the unreasonable demands placed on us in the workplace to human rights abuse, because in some extremes it really is that bad. The guilt trip about patient abandonment is so bogus; the real abandonment comes from Managements deliberate understaffing that endangers our patients. When I said that under such extreme circumstances I was in danger of making a mistake that could cause harm to a patient they warped that into an excuse to force me to take time off without pay. I provided a Doctor’s note and they ordered me to attend a FASAP psychological evaluation for “demanding an unreasonable accommodation for an undiagnosed medical condition.” After 2years of covering their most unpopular shifts they were now trying to prove I was a nut case.
[FONT=Arial Narrow] One of the problems they were trying to obscure was their policy of not calling in their call people to stand by for Trauma. On the night when I was left for 12hours during a liver transplant the call person should have been there. When, during my arbitration, the Management team admitted leaving me continuously scrubbed for 12hours al they had to say was the ER was busy and I didn’t ask for a break. The real issue was where was the call person? My highlighting of the abandonment uncovered this serious ongoing negligent unwritten rule put in place by the abusive evening Nurse Manager; it was in violation of our Trauma coverage obligations under COMAR and they knew it, but saved the OR money. JCAHO’s cursory scheduled visits were mirrored by every other agency, the “best Hospital in America” was beyond scrutiny and beyond reproach. They felt that the regulations were made for lesser institutions and they could bend the rules a little here and there to cut their staffing budget costs. They were, and still are, on a pedestal and they refuse to allow me to disrupt that privileged status with crude realities like danger to the patients.
[FONT=Arial Narrow] There is a dangerous catch 22 in reporting danger to patients. You go direct to an outside agency and they accuse you of not following the chain of command. You go to an internal Compliance Line or Risk Management and you help alert the Hospital to what they must cover up and the need to remove you. You follow the chain of command first and you really lay yourself open to abuse; you are immediately targeted for removal and it is so swift there is no chance to protect yourself. Once you start into the HR process you are toast; they can lie and cheat their way round everything by focusing on the need to remove you thereby diverting attention away from the real issues of negligence. The Compliance Line will say they cannot get involved with the Hospital’s disciplinary process; hey it works far too well for them to interfere, it’s ruthless. That is what I was told by the Compliance Line you have to go through your disciplinary hearings, appeals and all other avenues of recourse first. As you go through this morally bankrupt process their ongoing retaliatory abuses are totally ignored by the so called Compliance Line. That promise of protection is a complete lie, if they offer anyone any level of protection I would love to know when.
[FONT=Arial Narrow] Even after alerting them to the circumstances you are facing and presenting evidence that you are experiencing retaliation for exposing negligence the disciplinary process is not vetted or monitored in any way at all. Although the process is painfully slow dragging on unnecessarily for months in the end it generally succeeds in rubber stamping your permanent removal. The Compliance Lines expect you to go to your Manager first; they know that most employees who attempt to complain about negligence will be knocked out of the loop at this very early stage. The Risk Management and Compliance Lines are the back up plan to control the rest on behalf of the Hospital’s best financial interests. If it works for them financially they will fight you tooth and nail.
[FONT=Arial Narrow]In my case for them to appropriately discipline the Managers responsible for negligence towards patients and the retaliation used to silence me they would need to fire four key OR Managers up to and including the Director of Surgical Nursing and her assistant Director. This is not based on my personal feelings or views, but on insuring standards that are equivalent for all employees regardless of rank and meet the guidelines laid down in their employee rules handbook. Dismissal would be a requirement in order to accomplish the exact same level of accountability expected of all regular Hospital staff. When their ongoing negligence policies and unconscionable behavior lying under oath to victimize a subordinate are stacked up against the feeble excuses used to fire me it is simply obscene. This disparity in accountability destroys the loyalty of ordinary employees who know that Management can never be trusted. If Managers do not face comparable consequences then the Hospital might as well erect a six foot high sign in the lobby: “Managers will never be disciplined or held even minimally accountable for negligence or vindictive behavior towards their subordinates.”
[FONT=Arial Narrow] Those incomprehensible delays aren’t at all necessary; they are part of the grand design of forced removal of whistleblowers. Time is distance and it is always dictated by them in favor of putting some serious distance between the point of your removal and any last glimmer of justice you might try to achieve. All too soon agencies will start telling you that it was too long ago for them to look into it. Move now and move quickly; fight the unreasonable delays aggressively and ask for everything in writing. It took an entire year for the Arbitrator who heard my case to get back to me with a final ruling; that was ludicrous. If they were genuinely concerned about danger to patients there would be no justification for stalling a Risk Management hearing at all. Every time you communicate with them drum home the urgency of correcting the dangerous ICU situation to protect patients before someone is harmed.
[FONT=Arial Narrow] Unfortunately, Management have done as they always do under these circumstances: you are the agenda, your removal is all they care about. Once they have forcibly extricated you from the system entirely you have no right to protection from the retaliation that was used to fraudulently remove you through wrongful termination. They will also try to deny you any further involvement in the Hospital’s inadequate and dangerous Management of their ICU. As a non-employee you have no say any more: do not accept this as it remains your public duty to take action. This is the stock Compliance Line cop out: pretend that the disciplinary process is legitimate and above board and the problem i.e. “you” will go away. In your case it is Risk Management trying to legitimize the dismissal process, but the agenda is exactly the same. After you are extricated according to their bankrupt process they will completely ignore you. They will no longer reply to any communications and may get their legal office to send you a letter to dissuade you from making any further contact. I still send letters directly to the Dean and other key people at my former Hospital, I refuse to go away or be threatened by legal heavies. I feel much safer now after returning to the UK; we do have important freedoms here like you cannot be fired for having your arms folded or your hands on your hips while at work!
[FONT=Arial Narrow] The other consequence of doing things as instructed by going up the chain of command first is that after they fire you your credibility is severely compromised. This is further complicated by the Compliance Line or Risk Management who automatically endorsed and facilitated the corrupt process used to silence you with bogus disciplinary action. Now any external agencies you report to can be easily convinced that you were legitimately fired for cause and are just a “disgruntled former employee.” The Hospital will warn these agencies about your dangerous agenda of revenge prompted by the loss of your job and they will convince them that your self-serving motivations are focused on trying to obtain a big settlement that you don’t deserve. Guess who these agencies will listen to, the Hospital every time. If you are working for a prestigious institution with a reputation for excellence they are unassailable and completely above the law. The trouble is they know they are untouchable and they have learned how to play the system well.
[FONT=Arial Narrow] My only hope now is to sham my former Hospital into compliance, but even this id next to impossible; the press do not even want to touch them except to sing their praises. The Dean did listen to me once in the early days when we put together the OR retreat to create a “Perfect Day in the OR,” following a letter that I wrote. He must know my intentions are honorable and if he really cares about patient safety he should be motivated to act. I have difficulty believing that he has bought into their shallow web of lies.
[FONT=Arial Narrow] There is another top Doctor there who has be the catalyst behind the majority of the new patient safety and quality care initiatives they keep winning accolades for. I have written to him too, but he must be in total denial as he sent my letter directly to HR. It would take so little to uncover the lies; there are so many inconsistencies in everything they have presented so far. The complete absence of any documentation in my case and the fact that I will not give up must make them at least suspicious. He believes that their Management, their HR process and their Compliance Line are all functioning legitimately in the best interests of patient safety.
[FONT=Arial Narrow] If I can get him to reexamine my case and insist on a full investigation, he will finally realize there are absolutely no protections in place to insure that retaliation does not occur and that employees feel safe coming forward to alert Management to potential safety issues. He will be confronted by an internal Compliance Line that is a completely corrupt sham, “WE COMPLY” definitely does not comply! They certainly have an awful lot of explaining to do. All of the good Doctor’s ambitious initiatives are untenable without proper whistleblower protections in place. The real importance of examining my case is that he will see just how ludicrously easy it is for corrupt Managers to railroad an outspoken employee.
[FONT=Arial Narrow] I have to believe he would take action to close this loophole. If this highly regarded Doctor and the Dean of the “Best Hospital in America” decide to act they are in an excellent position to be very influential in changing dangerous practices not only at my former Hospital, but at numerous other Hospitals across the country. I really need to have them both on my side. If the Dean and this Doctor, who lost his own father to Hospital negligence, continue to deliberately ignore my calls for an open investigation, genuine transparency and justice after five years of hell then I will be forced to believe that they too is corrupt. My Petition will target the Dean of my former Hospital and this Doctor in an effort to get them to insist on a proper investigation of my case. I hope that by posting it on the internet I will place them both in a position where they will have to explain their inaction and the lack of protection provided by their Hospital’s Compliance Line. In this way they may be forced to tighten HR disciplinary processes and overhaul their Compliance Line just to live up to the standard of honesty, integrity and transparency they claim on the web.
[FONT=Arial Narrow] I feel so dreadful that it has come to this. I tried every possible way to get them to take appropriate action and now I feel I have no other choice than to go public. I have nothing to hide and nothing to be ashamed of; the shame is all theirs. There is so delight in shaming them, on the contrary, I am deeply saddened by it; sad that this is my only hope of justice in the “land of the free, home of the brave!” Although I never intend to give up fighting for justice, this is one more last ditch appeal to be allowed to take back my life as no one should face a life sentence of shame for trying to protect their patients from harm. I will let you all know when the Petition is finally posted as I hope I can count on your support. There will be many valuable links that may be useful to those facing retaliation; this is what is taking time, to add in all the links.
[FONT=Arial Narrow] I believe that a number of Nurses who are facing this type of retaliation would do well to contact the organization that this Doctor heads up as he is in a position to help make major changes a tangible reality. If this man were to comprehend the extent of the problem we are all facing and the danger it presented to patients I am sure he would feel compelled to act. I just hope he is motivated by genuine concern for the safety of Hospital patients and he is not just part of my former Hospital’s PR spin machinery. Until we have genuine patient advocates in these positions of power we will remain helpless. I hope some of what I post on this site is helpful and supportive to others facing a similar dilemma. Stay strong and don’t give up,
[FONT=Arial Narrow] Fair Winds & Following Seas, Kim.
[FONT=Arial Narrow] PS: Beware of they stalling on this investigation. Call them back on it, call them a lot and write. Stress the urgency in writing, create a paper trail a mile long. They will leave you to stew for months, years if they can, so don't let it drop.
Dec 24, '05tsunamikim,
i am suppost to receive their "decision" this week i believe.i am not like "holding my breath".as far as a paper trail....they provided me a paer trail. one...the numerous numerous complimentary emails they sent me, the promotions,the letters for my promotion only weeks before i was fired.then i have the nm on tape...lying.so....i feel like....."let them explain to a judge",they have given me so many "versions" of stuff.i am asking for clarification.if it werent so serious it would be comical.but the papertrail....they provided it. the rest is up to my atty .
i am so sorry tsunami kim......but ...i know you did not just say that you were taking care of level 1 patients and on over 12 hour shifts...understaffed,...with documentation of jcaho violations.....and they ask you to take a psych exam?????omg.....i am sorry id have my atty tear into them.i would.......have you obtained an atty? :angryfire :angryfire
Dec 24, '05[FONT=Arial Narrow]TNNURSE,
[FONT=Arial Narrow] Stupid fool me, I tried to work things out through the system first. Chain of command to the Managers who fired me, then actually believed their HR dept would uncover the truth, like they might actually care. Then I resorted to their internal Compliance Line and was so polite and understanding when they told me that ludicrous crap about how they could not investigate any retaliation issues until after the Hospital had completely finished retaliating! Because I had a Union I trusted them to represent me and appeal to the Hospital on my behalf for access to all the documentation I naively thought I was entitled to. That was really ridiculous as it left me with zero proper representation, fighting fake charges that I was denied access to any full written documentation of. Meanwhile my employee files were constantly being tampered with and shown to internal and external agencies behind my back adjusted as necessary to fit the specific needs of the moment and support the corrupt process of my removal by discrediting me!
[FONT=Arial Narrow] Then I fought the war of attrition through contacting those agencies that are in place to supposedly protect the public interest: EEOC, the Maryland Commission on Human Relations, JACHO, MIEMSS, the Maryland Board of Nursing. Each and every one of them betrayed the public trust and protected the special interests of my iconic Hospital which is the largest, most powerful employer in the state of Maryland. David and Goliath had nothing on me; it was pathetic. Yes there is documentation to support much of what I tried to present and prove, but my Hospital has total ownership of all the evidence and they are keeping it very tightly under wraps. The public agencies would not even attempt to access the evidence and look at it properly, let alone do anything. I could not go through it with them to point out obvious discrepancies and dangerous irregularities because I was totally barred from any access even to the bogus charges against me personally.
[FONT=Arial Narrow] All of these agencies focused on reviewing the lies that were being dumped into my revolving door personnel file that I was lot allowed to see but they had full access to behind my back. It went like this: “we have seen evidence that you harassed and threatened your OR Manager.” I would ask to see the evidence, but each and every time I was told that they could not show anything to me as the Hospital had prohibited my access to all documents that they owned. They would say it was to protect my accusers from me! When I asked for them to submit the exact wording used without the names attached they refused this too. My Hospital won an award for “transparency,” but they couldn’t even give me one direct quote from one of the lies used to fire me. I am sure you can understand why I am angered by this hypocrisy and why I have completely lost faith in any semblance of “justice” in America! I even contacted both of my Maryland Senators and my Congressman, but they have proved equally helpless so far; initially they just kept saying that they couldn’t interfere with that corrupt HR process. American justice took on a whole new meaning for me.
[FONT=Arial Narrow] Then after 8months and pressure from the Labour Board my Hospital was finally forced to show me copies of 3 suppressed letters that had been deliberately misinterpreted to me as “letters of outrage.” If my Hospital had nothing to hide I kept wondering why they could never provide one scrap of paper that gave complete details of what I had supposedly done. They preferred to keep things vague so that they could keep changing and embellishing the fake charges and I would have no idea what I was fighting. How do you prove that you didn’t do something that you didn’t do if there are no details given of when these acts supposedly occurred? When my Union rep read the pathetic obviously solicited letters they agreed to go to Arbitration. They basically said things like “she sat filling out time sheets, she asked me this and that, she said she was being falsely accused and forced out of her job.” One said “she was visibly not happy;” very true. How would she feel after 2weeks of forced time off without pay and a mortgage that consumed half your pay check? Nothing described in the letters appeared to justify the incomprehensible subjective feelings tacked on the end, but hey that was what they could bully out of the staff.
[FONT=Arial Narrow] They were never asked to detail in writing what I had actually said or done and the first time they were questioned directly on the specifics it in front of me where there comments could no longer be manipulated by Management was 15months latter at my Arbitration. At the very end of all 3 letters was a seemingly disconnected subjective comment: “I felt intimidated,” I felt threatened.” This “threatened” employee was the one who 15 months later testified that my “arms were folded” and I had my hands on my hips in an aggressive posture. The “intimidated” employee said I was “loud,” but then proceeded to give a pathetic demonstration of perfectly normal speech in a regular tone of voice. I bear these employees absolutely no ill will as I know that they were deceitfully tricked and manipulated to do the dirty work for corrupt Managers; they are victims too. They were scared for their jobs as all three very were new (2months) or temporary employees. One was the new personal secretary to the Director of Surgical Nursing who lied under oath. I wish I could tell them all how I genuinely feel about the intimidating and awkward position they were placed in and enlist their support in bringing the truth into the open once and for all. I worry that they may well be plagued by feelings of guilt and not realize that I understand their impossible predicament.
[FONT=Arial Narrow] The last of the letter writers said that my questions, inquiries had made him feel “uncomfortable.” This last witness, an office temp, was not called at my Arbitration, but I doubt that he would have just felt “uncomfortable” if he had witnessed me screaming life threatening dictates at the Director of Surgical Nursing as she had falsely accused in such graphic horror at my hearing. If it had occurred she could have fired me on the spot with three witnesses to support her actions, I would have been marched out of the building immediately no questions asked. But it never happened. That is why there is no written account, no documentation of any kind, there was no comment to other OR Managers and there was no call to Security to support this harrowing tale which thankfully the Arbitrator said was “not credible.” However, no one became in the least bit suspicious about why such a high ranking Manager, the Director of Surgical Nursing at the “best Hospital in America,” needed to lie under oath to secure the removal of a subordinate?
[FONT=Arial Narrow] Before agreeing to Arbitration I asked my Union if I was going into “Binding Arbitration,” but on several occasions they had insisted it was not binding: they lied. I even asked questions in letters sent to the Union Lawyer about what I could present at Arbitration that I might need to present latter in court; still they never warned me I was giving up any right to go to court in the future. They never bothered to read anything I gave them anyway and they very emphatically dictated just what I could and could not mention at Arbitration. They dismantled 99% of my case and I felt I was going into Arbitration “bound and gagged” by my own Lawyer. His defense was essentially that the very bad thing I did was not so bad! The only reason I even considered going ahead with it was that I thought if it was not binding I had nothing to loose and after it was out the way if they ruled against me that the Compliance Line would finally step in to protect me from retaliation even if it was after the retaliation had succeeded in destroying my career. No one at the Arbitration hearing even mentioned if the ruling would be binding and I was the only idiot in the room who had no idea I was being trapped into eternal silence by foregoing the possibility of having my day in court.
[FONT=Arial Narrow] I was shocked when my Hospital openly admitted to leaving me stranded in Surgery for 8, 10 and 12hours without a break; they made it all sound so normal, so thoroughly average and acceptable. This severely negligent admission and the feeble excuse that condoned it, “the ER was busy” and I didn’t ask for a break, is now documented in writing through my final Arbitration ruling. However, it is rendered totally useless as I can never go to court. This was precisely the reason why they freely admitted to gross negligence: so that it could never be raised at any other hearing ever again. By weathering the storm at my binding Arbitration they would never have to defend their negligent practices in a court of law. Knowing that the Arbitration was binding they skillfully manipulated the situation beautifully to deny me my rights. I could probably testify if I was subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury or if this OR negligence was significant to another negligence case where a patient was harmed. If that ever happens I will be on a plane back to the US in a heartbeat even if I have beg, borrow or stow away to get there.
[FONT=Arial Narrow] My Lawyer certainly did an excellent job of representing the Hospital’s best interests. When the Director of Surgical Nursing got up and lied under oath and he didn’t even bring back the witnesses who could have easily refuted what she said. He then put my guilt in writing no less than three times in his written summation to the Arbitrator which he then refused to show me until after the Arbitrator had ruled against me. I waited for an entire year for the Arbitrator to rule against me, but under those circumstances it would have taken a miracle for him to rule in my favor. Then I discovered quite by accident that I had been tricked into binding Arbitration. I do not see him as blameless though since he should have begun by reminding us all that his ruling would be binding and would preclude any further recourse to seek justice. Anyway, I spent money I didn’t have to consult a lawyer and she said we had to make sure the Arbitration was not binding. I got back in touch with my Union and they gave me a copy of the most recent handbook and there it was in black and white. I wanted to bring an official complaint against my Lawyer’s unethical practice with the Maryland Bar Association, but by this time I was in serious debt and about to loose my house.
[FONT=Arial Narrow] Now I thought I still had recourse to that interminably postponed Compliance Line investigation; not! What a fool I had been, they had lied to me as well. So there you have it, how to destroy your own career 101. I only hope that be exposing the traps that I fell for I can warn others. I will never have any legal recourse to justice at any point in the future. Even if the press did a revealing investigation that exposed the entire corrupt affair I have been forced to endure my former Hospital would not be responsible for compensating me for the complete destruction of my life in America. If your Atty thinks there is a way to fight Goliath I would love to hear about it. Despite the lack of any hope of regaining my home or being able to pay off the huge debts I was forced to walk away from in the States I am still determined to fight this injustice until the day I die.
[FONT=Arial Narrow] I have remained in contact with all of my credit card companies after I informed them of why I had taken on debts confident of my reinstatement with back-pay. I never lied to them about my situation and I maintained a PO box where mail is forwarded to me in the UK. In the end I had neither the money nor the support to file for bankruptcy, but I have never denied it was my debt and my responsibility to pay it. Some have offered generous reductions which I sincerely appreciate, but even this is beyond me as my situation is hopeless. I will obviously never be able to own property again, but right now I am scared to ever become attached to anything again. Because of the debts I can never own a credit card again, so when I work as a volunteer in far flung places overseas I will never have the security of being able to just use a credit card to buy a plane ticket back to the UK in an emergency. I cannot even get travel and medical insurance while I am overseas; I just take a big risk and hope for the best. I have learned to stop caring about security, comfort or possessions now; I feel lucky to have escaped. I’m happiest living a very simple life working as a medical volunteer and sleeping in my hammock/tent. Not much to loose when you get back to the basics.
[FONT=Arial Narrow] I want to finally clear my name and put an end to the ongoing damage to my reputation. As it is I cannot apply to one of the NGOs to gain their support for my humanitarian work in Aceh as my credibility is shot to pieces. I would like to have the full support of my prestigious former Hospital behind me when I try to petition NGOs to invest in my emergency preparedness plan; instead I am afraid to even mention that I worked for five years in the OR at the “best Hospital in America” in case they uncover the fact that I was fired for reasons that bordered on criminal behavior. These unsubstantiated lies have now been written into fact through the endorsement of that Kangaroo court their HR dept put me through, the so called “unbiased” mediation done by EEOC with behind closed door viewing of fabricated documents and the bogus final ruling of an Arbitrator. The refused or swiftly abandoned “investigations” of several public agencies and the refusal of the Compliance Line to investigate prop up the legitimacy of one another as they help to deny any accountability for the negligence or retaliation committed by my former Hospital.
[FONT=Arial Narrow] Even here in the UK this continues to negatively impact my future. The lies used to fire me may still prevent me from joining the Association of Operating Department Practitioners here in the UK once I am otherwise eligible as there are ethical conduct standards that must be met. This would mean I could never work in the OR again anywhere in Europe. However, it simply would never occur to a British agency that the HR process at the top Hospital in America could possibly by corrupt. They naturally assume that all those “freedoms” Americans go on about actually exist and that due process is afforded to everyone in the workplace. They also have difficulty believing the lack of employment regulations to prevent abuse in the workplace, the “at will” firing etc. This is not humanly possible in Europe and they assume thing are so much better in the States. The cynicism of many US friends is not shared by people here who have no concept of the horrendous level of corruption in the US fueled by corporate greed. If anything the damage to my credibility is far worse here because of this false confidence in a system the Brits have no knowledge of.
[FONT=Arial Narrow] I am too disgusted to ever return to the US, but here in England where I was born I must subsist on welfare because I cannot yet work in a UK Hospital. At least as a volunteer in Asia I could do some good and return to the OR. I honestly do not care if I ever earn a bean again, because as I said, I am afraid to ever own anything. This is distressing for my family as I resist them ever giving me something of value to treasure as I have lost all trust in the safety of my future. I continue to exist, but I no longer feel alive; that is what was done to me in America. This is the saddest time of year for me as I am haunted by the betrayal and the loss of everything I had worked for in over twenty years in the US. I have seriously considered burning my American passport in front of the US embassy in London to make a statement about the corruption and injustice in the US. All I can say is avoid the traps that I fell for, do not allow you Hospital to stall for time and trust no one! All internal and public agencies let me down, the politicians have not done anything yet and even my own Lawyer betrayed me. I hope you will fare better than I did, just be warned,
[FONT=Arial Narrow] Fair Winds & Following Seas, Kim.
Dec 24, '05TsunamiKim,
I am so sorry all this horrible stuff happened to you.I dont understand alot about nsg unions bc I have never been a memeber of one.But...you say arbitration means that you give up your right to prosecute in court?That ...doesnt sound legal...
As far as me...I am going to allow them to notify me of their "investigation findings"-probably a sham. Then....its time for a court date as far as both myself and my atty are concerned.Honestly....I am starting to get more cynical about this hospital every day. I want to believe that they would "do the right thing"...but so far....I have just been disappointed. I am still so "niave" in this whole thing that I still feel bad for their atty who will be the one left to face this judge and state "yes...judge...I know the HCF I represent documented "X"....and I am really so sorry about that.BC .."X" is a lie....but pleassseeeee believe us when we say "Y" is true". I am just not a mean person. I didnt start this whole thing in that "spirit"....what I did I have done "in the spirirt of trying to help my coworkers and trying to ensure patient safety".Nothing more. For that me and my family have paid dearly. I didnt get the option of COBRA INSURANCE, lost my retirement, the emotional loss of security of a job I had invested alot of "me" into. Having to bring this forward...isnt something I am happy about...I didnt ask to witness what I saw.....I didnt ask to be retaliated against to be silenced either. But my patient...and her family...her children.....didnt ask for what this nurse did to them either. And...thats kinda where I draw the line...I have a hx of it there.I may like ya....but if you are praticing at a level below competency I am gonna keep talking till someone listens and resolves it.I cant change who I am. :deadhorse :smackingf :deadhorse :icon_lol:
Dec 24, '05TsunamiKim
I don't know anything about arbitrations but how can it be legally binding if one of the parties is unaware that it's binding? Shouldn't you have been asked to sign a document stating that you knowingly give up your right to ever present your case in court? I truly am sorry for what happened to you. I really hope there's a way to fix all of this!
Dec 24, '05Quote from soleilpietsunamikim
i don't know anything about arbitrations but how can it be legally binding if one of the parties is unaware that it's binding? shouldn't you have been asked to sign a document stating that you knowingly give up your right to ever present your case in court? i truly am sorry for what happened to you. i really hope there's a way to fix all of this!
soleipie...thats kinda what i was wondering.if she didnt sign anything stating it was a "final uncontested" decision"...then it can not be legal. surely?tsunami kim,...did they provide you with documentation of any type that stated by going thru this arbitration process that you gave up all legal avenues?se...this is what i hate about this ongoing problem with these hcf...they dont "see" the patient....they dont "see" the nurse/rt/ or even the md. they dont see anything....unethical acts...immoral acts...or even illegal acts.i am just in awe of how so many nurses and physicians are kinda scammed by their employers.how can....any of this kinda stuff not be making it into the publics eye? employers need to realize we take care of "patients who are people ...not equipment.when there is a pt safety issue you dont shut up the complaining party....you really investigate ...and really take action!bc...otherwise...the next time you are in maryland ...you could be in a car accident in tsunamikims hospital district...that could be you waiting to go into the or....that or gurney that tsunamikim complained about never being cleaned.....might be the one you are lying on while they slice open your leg to fix that fx.when...you get that infection that either takes your leg/or yourlife...then it will be very important that tsunamikims concerns were never heard.i swear ....with some of the stories i have heard...it is like ....it is going to take some major event happening before the public cries out...and are outraged over what has happened to nurses in healthcare.:redlight: :deadhorse :redlight:
[font="trebuchet ms"]"pretty much any nurse can gain competency thru trial and error eventually (no orientation to the job) ...but is it ethically correct to allow that to happen? no...no its not. bc...it may be your family member they say "oops...mental note to self....dont do that again!"...every patient in every bed...is someones mother brother/father/sister/child.they are someone to somebody.