Criminal charges against WI Nurse - page 2

by Dorito

24,581 Views | 48 Comments

What are your thoughts on the criminal charges brought against the nurse who made a med error at St. Mary's hospital ? I feel this is inappropriate action and sends the wrong message to many nurses. Mistakes happen. I feel very... Read More


  1. 0
    I agree with tvccrn. Too many mistakes. I wonder how long she has been working as a nurse before this happened.
  2. 2
    Quote from traumaRUs
    I still feel that she is not criminally responsible. Yes, she made a mistake (a truly terrible one) but she did not do it maliciously or on purpose. I would want some action taken on nursing license but is she a danger to society? Probably not...so she shouldn't be held criminally liable.
    If you run a bunch of traffic lights and kill somebody in a car accident ... you're still guilty of negligent homicide, even if you didn't maliciously mean to kill anybody.

    That's what the negligent homicide statute is for. At some point, people have to be responsible for their actions.

    :typing
    livesinscrubs and elkpark like this.
  3. 0
    While I do believe that people are responsible for their actions, I also believe that this nurse (at least from what I have read in the papers), did not do this on purpose. If she goes to jail, what's to stop other prosecutors from filing charges when mistakes are made that harm patients?

    If you run stop lights, its no accident and of course you are liable. However his nurse did not INTENTIONALLY cause harm to the patient.

    This is what I view as the difference in the two situations.

    We had a very experienced RN in our NICU about five years ago, somehow gave tube feeding via an IV and the child died. It was horrible, she lost her job, her license was in jeopardy and she felt just awful. I do not know the particulars except that she was not criminally prosecuted. She no longer practices nursing.
  4. 0
    Quote from lizz
    If you run a bunch of traffic lights and kill somebody in a car accident ... you're still guilty of negligent homicide, even if you didn't maliciously mean to kill anybody.

    That's what the negligent homicide statute is for. At some point, people have to be responsible for their actions.

    :typing
    If I ran a bunch of traffic lights and killed someone, I'd expect to be treated as a criminal. That's no accident.

    However, what if a truck pushes my car through all those stoplights and then disappears? Was the accident entirely caused from my negligence alone?

    This is the only way I can demonstrate that the problem here is, IMO, one of scapegoating the nurse rather than questioning the system that caused the accident.

    We always shake our heads when we see dangerous patient loads, exhausted staff trying to make do, and management always comes out clean as a whistle.

    We always ask ourselves, "What will it take for management to wake up and change things?"

    Well, here we are. This is the day we dreaded for ourselves and for our fellow nurses--a patient has died.

    Are we asking how we could've prevented this? Is Admin?

    No.

    Another nurse is gonna hang and we're all just going to go to work and hope that the next time it isn't us.
  5. 0
    Quote from Angie O'Plasty, RN
    We always shake our heads when we see dangerous patient loads, exhausted staff trying to make do, and management always comes out clean as a whistle.

    We always ask ourselves, "What will it take for management to wake up and change things?"
    I'm not going to argue with you on this one. Generally, understaffing and exhaustion is not a legal defense, although it probably should be.

    However, this is why I will NEVER work anywhere but California. Not just because of the ratio law but, we can legally give employers four hours notice that we are unsafe if, for example, a nurse doesn't show up for a shift and they want us to work overtime.

    We have to stay for four more hours to give them a chance to find a replacement. But, as long we as give notice that after four hours we're exhausted and unsafe ... we've legally covered and cannot be charged with patient abandonment, even if they don't find a replacement.

    We can also legally protest unsafe patient assignments by filing incident reports. Let's say they give you too many high acuity patients or they violate the ratio law. You still have to accept the assignment but, if you protest it and declare it unsafe with risk management, you're totally covered with the board and lawsuits. They can't fire you for protesting the unsafe assignment either.

    :typing
    Last edit by Sheri257 on Nov 8, '06
  6. 0
    Quote from traumaRUs
    While I do believe that people are responsible for their actions, I also believe that this nurse (at least from what I have read in the papers), did not do this on purpose. If she goes to jail, what's to stop other prosecutors from filing charges when mistakes are made that harm patients?

    If you run stop lights, its no accident and of course you are liable. However his nurse did not INTENTIONALLY cause harm to the patient.

    This is what I view as the difference in the two situations.

    We had a very experienced RN in our NICU about five years ago, somehow gave tube feeding via an IV and the child died. It was horrible, she lost her job, her license was in jeopardy and she felt just awful. I do not know the particulars except that she was not criminally prosecuted. She no longer practices nursing.
    There could be differences in the case you've mentioned also. I don't think the board or prosecutors expect nurses to be perfect. And the law, at least in my state, requires prosecutors to prove several elements in the case, not just one.

    For example, prosecutors have to prove that the deadly consequences were foreseeable by the nurse. If the consequences aren't foreseeable then, they don't have a case. Presumably the bright pink warning label is a foreseeable consequence in this case but, maybe there wasn't foreseeable consequences in the NICU case.

    I don't think prosecutors will have carte blanche with prosecuting nurses because of this case. Looks to me like the nurse had several opportunities to avoid the error but didn't.

    :typing
  7. 0
    This just makes me sick. I am just upset. I feel that she had no intent on killing this girl. I admit this is the most neglegant thing ever. Did not do the rights of drug administration. I feel that she definentaly deserves to lose her license. Criminal charges are way too much. I feel that drunk drivers who are caught should have criminal charges and be in jail. I feel that every drunk driver should have criminal charges they are a lot more unsafe then Thao would ever be.
  8. 0
    If she was found guilty it would definitely make me think twice about continuing nursing in my busy ICU. I've never made a mistake that hurt a patient but sometimes I think "There but the grace of God go I..." when I hear something like this. I admit that from the description it sounds like a particularly negligent mistake, but we don't know all the details or what was going through her mind -- I'm sure she did not want to hurt this girl at all. Very sad story.
  9. 0
    Things have really changed at the hospital as I work there. She was a very experienced RN and very caring. However, mistakes were made.
    I feel horrible for both Julie and the Grant family.
  10. 0
    Question: if it was a member of your family who died because of this, would you still think the RN should only lose their license and not be prosecuted?

    I realize we don't have all of the details here. But I'm still trying to figure out why she would go into a locked cabinet to get the epidural bag. The article says she wanted to show it to the patient.

    Seems weird ... like how would showing a patient the bag make any difference, even if the patient was upset?

    :typing


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