Criminal charges against WI Nurse - page 4

by Dorito 25,870 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. After carefully reading the article and seeing the many errors this nurse made, I feel she was grossly negligent, and showed very poor judgment. I hate to say it, but I feel criminal charges are warranted in this case.
    I came here to say just that. I work in Madison and have read all of the accounts. The cascade of horrible nursing mistakes goes beyond an "oops!". I'm embarrassed that someone who holds a license similar to mine could make such fundamental, catastrophically bad decisions.

    I just got a union e-mail asking me to send money to her. No.
    Last edit by Quickbeam on Dec 4, '06
  2. 0
    Just another reason not to stay in nursing. Nursing surely has to be one of the worst professions on the planet! If I could afford to, I'd be outta there!! I try to tell nursing students to change course before it's too late.:angryfire
  3. 0
    I think the key point in all of this was brought up but ignored. This is a news report, a short one, that has very few details and was probably written by someone with no medical knowledge.
    As far as the DA goes he's gonna release details that support his position, the defending attorney will do the same. Taking any statement released by either side at face value is a mistake.
    There is going to be two battles here. One in the media and one in the courtroom. The one in the media will bear little resemblence to reality. We all at least hope that the one in court will bring out the truth.
  4. 0
    1/31/07
    I'm sure we all know of cases where medical malpracitce has resulted in a patient death, but all too often the wrongful death gets concealed and the death is labelled caused by another reason, like a risk of surgery or otherwise procedure.
  5. 1
    Quote from lizz
    No ... I don't think that's the point here. Seems to me this case is different. As the article points out the nurse:


    If the label had bright pink warnings on them, the nurse is expected to pay attention to that. This was gross negligence that caused a death.

    :typing
    Not only did she ignore the pink warning on the medication, but she completely violated several other hospital protocols in the administration of this medication. Not to mention the patients 5 rights for medication administration.

    Nurses that are this grossly negligent should have there licenses revoked for good, plus be prosecuted criminally. Because this nurse allowed more than just a simple med error to happen.
    Now, if individuals disagree with what I have written, then ask yourself these questions:
    1) Would you want a nurse who disregarded protocol for medication administration taking care of you?

    2) Would you want a nurse who disregarded protocol for medication administration taking care of someone that you loved very deeply?

    Now, I am all for giving medical professionals legal immunity in medical errors. But, this case is way too far over the line for my approval of legal immunity.
    elkpark likes this.
  6. 2
    While criminal charges may have been extreme (although I felt that they were appropriate in THIS case) this nurse got off VERY LIGHTLY IMHO. I mean for the gross negligence she did it seems that a 9 month suspension of her license followed by 2 years of a limited license (she can only work 12 hours in any 24 hour period of time, and no more then 60 hours in any 7 day period....so it is REALLY Limited.Ha).

    At minimum for all the steps she passed over she should NOT be practicing as a RN anywhere. The most frightining comment is that she puts compassion before detail. While I understand how important compassion is in this field, a lack of compassion is RARELY going to kill a patient. She may have been a good nurse since she got her license in 1990, but it makes me wonder how many times that she has done similar things and been lucky.

    Rick
    Otessa and Quickbeam like this.
  7. 0
    Quote from lizz
    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.

    :typing

    Hi Lizz. I've been following your posts for a long time, so I kinda feel like I understand you a bit. Forgive me if I should not say that.

    I just wanted to reply quick, not due to the post, because I almost feel like the nurse who gave 8grams of Dilantin could be charged too. I don't have an argument. I feel sorry for the patient who died, their family and her son who will never know his mother. On the other hand, I think almost EVERY nurse has felt unsafe on the floor at one point. I think most new grads feel kind of "lost" at the beginning when they are left on their own, or a nurse new to a specialty. There's a learning curve that has to take place. Not that this an excuse for not following established rules. But really, even if the nurse made a mistake (which she did), so did the nurse who gave the Dilantin. So many nurses make a medication mistake at one point in their career...it could be any of us. That's why I feel bad for the nurse too.

    I hope you're not taking this as a point against or for anyone. I chose to post because I agreed with your post, and I also wanted to tell you that California is not the only state with legal protection for nurses against overtime.

    In my state, if a nurse didn't show up, we are not required to stay any amount of time over. We cannot be forced to work overtime. Where I worked last, we had enough nurses/supervision that I could within a few minutes get someone to sit down and take over my set of patients. If we don't feel safe, we do not have to stay. It's voluntary. I don't know if there are other states with these laws, but you're right that it's a nice legal defense for us so we are not forced into staying when we feel too tired/too unsafe, whatever.

    I wish we had the answer so another patient didn't have to be injured, hurt, killed, whatever again. And so that nurses didn't have to ever feel the agony over making an error. Anyone who's made an error has felt the stomach-dropping, heart-wrenching feeling of "what if this costs me my career, my life as I know it. what else would I do? what will happen to this patient?" etc.
  8. 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.
    When we make the decision to enter the nursing profession, we do so with the intent of becoming an asset to the profession. In this case, the nurse did not follow simple necessary procedures that resulted in the death of a human being. She became a liability to the nursing profession. What happened to the 5 rights? This is something we learned in basic nursing. The license we obtained is a license to heal, not kill. I would never accept the excuse of "I made a mistake, it was unintentional" if a nurse took the life of one of my loved ones. I would not want sympathy, I would want justice. This nurse only received probation and a few restrictions on her license for killing someone. What is the justice in that?
  9. 0
    Quote from beckster
    Just another reason not to stay in nursing. Nursing surely has to be one of the worst professions on the planet! If I could afford to, I'd be outta there!! I try to tell nursing students to change course before it's too late.:angryfire
    I hope that you find the money to pursue a more fitting career for you, becase nursing is definatly NOT the job for someone who does not love it with all their heart. I would not want a nurse who felt that way about her job. Good luck in your future careers.
  10. 0
    what happened to her?

    did she loose her license?

    is the baby ok?


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