Nurse Fights for License After Sex With Dying Patient

  1. 1
    Link to the article:

    http://www.aolnews.com/2011/01/17/nu...dying-patient/

    I've been discussing this article with my husband, and we both have watched and read some people saying that she should be let off the hook. I don't think so, but my husband wonders if 20 years is too harsh of a punishment.

    I figured I would ask around here, have you ever seen anyone disciplined for something similar?

    Is 20 years an appropriate punishment?

    If this were a male nurse would he have received a harsher punishment?

    Just some of the questions that popped into my mind while reading the article.
    weezyljm likes this.
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  3. 211 Comments so far...

  4. 12
    There are more details in the article in the Oklahoman (linked from the AOL article). From the quotes from text messages between the nurse & patient, something was seriously amiss. As one of the responsibilities of the BON is to protect the public, I do agree punishment was warranted. I don't know what precedent has been set in the past (hopefully none), I think perhaps a permanent revocation of nursing license would be appropriate rather than a 20 yr license suspension and $5K fine.

    Based upon the quotes in the 2nd article, it seems this nurse showed some seriously poor judgment and perhaps it might be better if she found another line of work.
  5. 16
    Grossly unprofessional, unethical and severely out of bounds in a nurse-patient relationship.
    The nurse lacks any critical thinking skills, or ethical judgement.
    She got exactly what was coming to her, possibly less she shouldn't get an option to buy back her license. Ever.
  6. 14
    Ok i can see this. Unethical and Severely out of bounds in a nurse-patient relationship in what way? Many times you hear of nurses having relations with people they care for. Is it right well to most people no. On the other hand if it was after hours and they both are adults and both parties knew and understood clearly what was going on and both decided to have this relationship i don't see a problem with it.

    You say he was dieing and it's just wrong to do so. My question would be was he so far drugged up he didn't know what was going on? According to the article he knew what was up. And just because someone is dieing doesn't mean he or anyone else can't make a choice for themselves unless under heavy sedation of some sort.

    Now was he married during all this? Then that would be an affair. So now you say dying people can't have an affair Was it wrong of her to do this Yes in a moral stand point . As far as a ethical stand point i don't see it unless the BON is standing on Moral Merits. It sounded reading this that she had the affair with him and she moved on and he wasn't ready to move on and stop the relationship just yet.

    She even went as far to tell him she was indeed pregnant. Did she tell him she was pregnant to be mean No i bet she thought they were still friends and told him. She like everyone else in this world can not control anyone's action. Now the question should the BON give her back her License? I think the BON should and i'm sure the courts will see the same. It's Morals folks not Ethical.

    Moral implies a person's conforming to a set of a society's expected behavior
    morals can be based on tradition or they can be arbitrary..

    Ethical would be able to pass logical reasoning and have more concern or empathy for a person or persons or creature's well being, and concern about the effect of whatever is being considered ethical or unethical.

    Just wanting to point the two out encase of any confusion. These are my thoughts use them as you wish
  7. 30
    VERY unethical and just plain stupid. The lady obviously has a serious deficit in judgement, and she deserves to lose her nursing license. If you are a nurse for a patient, that automatically puts you at an 'advantage' with a patient, and it is your responsibility not to abuse that advantage. It is not an equal relationship, no matter what you decide to do in your 'off' hours.
    6mostogo, Sterren, VICEDRN, and 27 others like this.
  8. 12
    I think there are certain lines we shouldn't cross, both as professionals and as human beings. In this case, if it were me, I would pay the board their money, jump through their hoops, learn from my mistakes and hopefully get my license reinstated. $5000, plus attorney's fees she's already paid is still a drop in the bucket compared to the lost wages of the next 20 years that she won't be working as a nurse. We work really hard for that license and I hope the judge rules in her favor because 20 years is a long time to be punished for unethical but not criminal behavior.

    Yes the OK. article gives a little more explanation and backstory to why the OK BON feels it has jurisdiction over a nurse's behavior not just while on duty but while "off the clock." Understandably we don't get both sides of the story since one party is in litigation and the other is deceased. There is always more than one side to every story.

    And at one point it also sounds like the patient and his wife were looking for a big payday before dropping their suit against the agency this nurse was employed by.By him stating that he was seduced it would seem that he was trying to placate his wife and make himself less responsible for his actions.

    This is pure speculation but the person with the most to gain from reporting this nurse to the BON was the wife. If it were me, grieving, betrayed by someone I had stuck by only to find out he was cheating on me right under my nose with his nurse----yeah, I probably would find it hard not to be hurt, angry and vindictive as well.

    Several things disturbed me about this situation and most of all was that this young man had less than a year to live and this is the fallout due to choices he and this nurse made. He had a wife and children who are having to live with so much loss and betrayal.
    None of us knows what really happened, or how we might act if we knew we had less than 6 months to live. But as nurses, we're put into situations of emotional turmoil, ethical ambiguity and frustration with our patients all the time. Hospice nursing especially was probably not the type of job this nurse, with only a year of experience, should have been working in. It's a very challenging field with it's own unique skill set and demands.

    The hearing before a judge is tomorrow. It will be interesting to find out how the OK justice system handles this case.
  9. 24
    Sigh, I am not a fan of the idea of nurses sleeping with their patients because of professional boundaries. That being said, I am going to have to let my liberal views show a bit here. If this was a consensual relationship and the nurse was off duty then it seems like something that should merely be frowned upon. The patient was an adult, and alert & oriented...and he clearly had feelings for her (and therefore was not threatened or coerced into a relationship). I understand why the wife would be angry, and why the hospital would think it unprofessional. However, I am not sure that it is beneficial to society to revoke the license of a trained health care professional for this
    Furthermore, the article makes it sound like he tried to commit suicide because of the nurse being pregnant by another man, but it seemed like this info came from the wife. It seems just as likely that he may have attempted that because of depression related to his disease. People should be free to make their own adult decisions, and the patient in this case chose to have a relationship, just as the nurse did. If they were not sleeping together in the facility or while she was on duty, well, frankly, I cannot fathom why the BON would want to be involved. How many doctors would lose their license for dating an ex-patient?
    Last edit by CareFully on Jan 18, '11
    angrycouch, I love the OR, GooeyRN, and 21 others like this.
  10. 4
    on the surface, this nurse failed to maintain a single point relationship. there is a disparity of power issue, and the man appears to have been significantly affected by her actions with him and the father of her child. perhaps the patient's life was shortened because of the situation, as is implied in the AOL story. clearly his peacable relationship with his wife and children was affected.

    but then, i am one of the few people willing to admit that i favour responsibility for "alienation of affection", despite the fact that most states have rescinded criminal and civil actionability for such.

    this nurse needs to be rehabilitated. if i was the judge in this case i would rule that she needs to attend 12-15 credit hours of health care law and ethics related courses so that her thinking can be modified, and be suspended until that goal has been accomplished. she should also be exposed to civil suit by the family of the deceased for unprofessional conduct.

    in any case, her career is over.
  11. 9
    Do they still teach ethics in nursing school? Maybe she skipped that class.
  12. 9
    The thing that I took away from reading this is that the nurse showed that she has terrible judgment. While I am open to the argument that they were two consenting adults, clearly their relationship interfered with her ability to take care of her patient. I know that being emotionally attached can cause you to panic in a bad situation. Speculation aside, the relationship caused him an extreme amount of stress in his last months, so much that he attempted suicide.

    I think that seeing a former patient is a lot different than carrying on a relationship with someone you are currently providing care for.


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