Nurse who erred, faced cover-up charges, gets break

  1. nurse who erred, faced cover-up charges, gets break; likely to ...
    [color=#6f6f6f]journal inquirer, ct - 35 minutes ago
    but the judge also ordered petersen's nursing license suspended for 60 days, a measure the state public health department hadn't taken. ...



    more... nurse who erred, faced cover-up charges, gets break; likely to ... - journal inquirer
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  2. 33 Comments

  3. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    Well, the autoposy showed that the pt did not die of the med error- he was 86, and died two weeks after he was given the double dose.

    I think the nurse's error was understandable- covering it up was a big mistake on her part.

    Let's just all hope that if we ever give a double dose of pain med, the pt doesn't coincidentally die soon afterwards.
  4. by   EmmaG
    I agree that the cover-up is where she went wrong, but I found this a bit disconcerting:

    The charge stemming from the mistake in administering the medication carries a maximum prison sentence of two years, the judge said.
    Now that's scary.
  5. by   leslymill
    Wow if that judge had his way , we would all be in jail.
  6. by   oneLoneNurse
    Quote from leslymill
    Wow if that judge had his way , we would all be in jail.
    Yeh, we need to be vigilant. The nurse should have owned up to her mistake, nothing would have been done.
  7. by   morte
    how did it come to be in court?
  8. by   psalm51
    failing to report a med error has been a common response due to fear of losing your job. isn't that a form of cover up?
    the Institute for Safe Medication Practice (ISMP) (www.ismp.org), along with many government agencies and private groups recognize this as a problem b/c of the punitive culture that pervades the healthcare setting.
    a "Culture of Safety" is being promoted to help identify SYSTEM problems that cause or contribute to med errors. this culture does not call for punitive action -- but rather an honest disclosure of the facts that lead up to the error -- in order to determine the root cause.
    not ALL of us work in a "Culture of Safety" environment. i don't conddone coverup -- and this nurse went several steps in that direction -- but who knows what kind of culture she practiced in? and, in the end, maybe she was trying to save her job, perhaps her family, and her reputation.
    it was also noted that she was particularly concerned re: the patient's pain. could she have been a well-seasoned conscientious nurse who knew that the PCP would back her on giving that analgesic? were there any SAFETY CHECKS in the SYSTEM that would have prevented the nurse from giving a second dose? i really would like to know her side of it.
    many of us work in an adversarial, punitive, toxic, and short-handed setting. there but for the grace of God go we -- it is particularly difficult now with over zealous district attorneys looking for a high profile case that will further their political ambitions. look what happened at Duke University, and to nurses around the USA. i hope that i would never cover it up -- but i also hope to God that a med error would never bring harm to a patient.
    Last edit by psalm51 on Nov 3, '07
  9. by   SuesquatchRN
    The family pushed for it - because an 86 year old man with a broken hip died.

    What I find most disconcerting is she is described as "the nurse most concerned with managing Mr. x's pain."

    No good deed goes unpunished.
  10. by   Sabby_NC
    Another article where we can all learn from and ensure we do not fall into the same trap... Just need to be so vigilant all the time :uhoh21:
  11. by   oramar
    Quote from Sabby_NC
    Another article where we can all learn from and ensure we do not fall into the same trap... Just need to be so vigilant all the time :uhoh21:
    or we can just say "it ain't worth it" and get retraining in a field that does not have so many pitfalls
  12. by   UM Review RN
    Quote from article
    The charge stemming from the mistake in administering the medication carries a maximum prison sentence of two years, the judge said. But one of the charges stemming from the allegation that Petersen subsequently tried to cover up the error carries up to 10 years in prison, he added.
    Quote from oramar
    or we can just say "it ain't worth it" and get retraining in a field that does not have so many pitfalls

    I never knew that making an error could have such consequences when it was proven that there was no harm to the patient. So the article says that if I make a med error, I could go to jail for 2 years? As if the guilt in potentially harming the patient isn't enough? As though there is such a thing as a nurse who doesn't make a med error?

    Talk about system failure.

    You're right, oramar. I have to wonder if it is worth it.
    Last edit by UM Review RN on Nov 3, '07
  13. by   Mulan
    Quote from oramar
    or we can just say "it ain't worth it" and get retraining in a field that does not have so many pitfalls
    Amen to that!
  14. by   Diana,RN
    Quote from Angie O'Plasty, RN
    I never knew that making an error could have such consequences when it was proven that there was no harm to the patient. So the article says that if I make a med error, I could go to jail for 2 years? As if the guilt in potentially harming the patient isn't enough? As though there is such a thing as a nurse who doesn't make a med error?

    Talk about system failure.
    What about the fact that this RN made a choice to commit a med error?
    It's not like she just misread an order or the dosage on a vial...
    I think she is very lucky to have gotten away like this!
    Maybe 1 mg of Dilaudid didn't do it for the pain...but to give another 1 mg w/o having talked to an MD? Who does that? That's just asking for trouble!

    my 2 cents,
    Diana

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