Wisconsin Nurse being charged with criminal neglect - page 5

what happened here is truly tragic -- but given the complex, understaffed and over worked conditions in most hospitals, well -- it, or something like it, could happen to many of us. the nurse's... Read More

  1. by   Simplepleasures
    As a nurse with 27 years of experience here in Wisconsin, in my opinion this case was sent to the DOJ because the BQA(state) and the Wisconsin Regulation and Liscensing Board has fallen down on its face in enforcing rules and regulations set forth in our state statutes. There is an expose in a book written by a former Wisconsin state examiner/supervisor, Mary Richards Rollins,titled "Pain,Patients and Politics" .In this book she reveals the true attitude of the beaurocrats running the BQA and just how much gets brushed under the rug, very shocking.I have spoken to many nursing home reform advocates that tell me this is not unusual and not isolated to Wisconsin.Also I was told by a nursing home reform advocate here in Wisconsin that about two years ago a regional director of the BQA was fired because of a scandal in which at least one if not more nursing homes were shut down .It was plastered all over the local Milwaukee news channels showing FBI agents wheeling box after box of records.From what I was told there were many serious violations over a period of several years and the BQA did not follow through with any sanctions, and the DOJ stepped in. I know all the administrative types will now yell about how many regs there are, etc, etc, but I want to know just how many violations are nursing homes squeeking out of? I'm sure their big corporate lawyers work on their appeals diligently.Bottom line , if the BQA and the Liscensing Board dont do their jobs, maybe the DOJ will start being the enforcer .
    Last edit by Simplepleasures on Nov 25, '06
  2. by   sarahlh

    We started using the bridge system about 5 years ago. Two weeks prior to the incident it was implemented in Birth Suites.
  3. by   sarahlh
    Rottie Mom,

    Just to let you know St. Mary's is a wonderful place to work. Yes we have some of the same problems as other hospitals. We are in healthcare. There are always problems that we are going to have to work through.
  4. by   twotrees2
    Quote from traumaRUs
    I think this nurse will forever live with this awful mistake.

    However, it was a mistake. It was not intentional. She did not deliberately kill someone. I am sure that she wishes that she could re-do this day.

    Putting her in jail serves no useful purpose. She is not a danger to society.
    I do agree that she should not practice nursing any longer. However, putting her in jail serves no purpose.
    i agree with those who say no jail - yes license gone- yes i am sure monetary ( though inadequate ina nay instance of death ) from the nurse ( why we should all carry our OWN liability insurance) but yes- i have made a med error and who said it- something about there by the grace of god....... i thank god there was no injury when i did. just the thought of what COULD have happened haunts me to this day - this woman will never live a day of peace from now on. she was wrong ( as i was when i did and turned myself in when i could have gotten away with the error ) and needs to be punished ( and i was - not fun and very embarrassing and heartbreaking to know i did something wrong) - however her error was so significant with so many obvious red flags its got to be addressed. bright pink signs on the bag - not even needing to take it out etc- i will keep this nurse in my prayers and all of us for our future., i do agree if this goes to jail time or even probation vs cutting her license to practice this will change the course of nursing as we know it and many many more will be running - perhaps even myself included.
  5. by   twotrees2
    Quote from ktwlpn
    It's funny how the line seems to be drawn through the opinions on this matter.We've been talking about this case at work also and the trend there (and here ) seems to be that the less experienced nurses feel there are NO EXCUSES for this nurse-those of us with yrs of experience in the field are more apt to rationalize the situation.Is that because we have made our share of errors? Of course this nurse violated protocols-that's how errors are made.I truly believe that the majority of med errors are due to system breakdown and not carelessness on the nurse's part.After reading her bond affadavit it seems that she has been an exemplary nurse.Sure-measures have to be taken to insure this type of thing does not happen again and again-she should be disciplined but criminally? NO-I think that will set a dangerous precedent for our field..Our employers have systems in place to protect us and our patients from the nurses who should not be practicing-the ones who repeatedly violate the protocols and disregard the rights of med administration over and over.That type of nurse needs to loose her or his license.But if we criminally prosecute every nurse that makes an error that has a negative outcome it will lead to more nurses covering up their mistakes which will ultimatelt result in more harm to our patients.Errors DO serve a purpose-they point out problems in the system.They are a tool for education..Not a noose to hang the nurse involved.Who will want to go into the field of nursing under the threat of criminal prosecution ? Sheesh-have any of you ever looked at a label on a med and taken a second look seconds later to find it did not read what you thought it did? I have had my eyes and mind play tricks on me-it is freaking scary.......Use some common sense-there has to be more behind this story.I am betting that there is some kind of political motivation behind the criminal charges.And MONEY----Look at how they keep referring to the "child"in the complaint- that packs a bigger emotional punch then say the 38 yr old woman.....Let's keep following this story with open minds.We can all learn from it (let's not get the thread closed,citizens)
    i agree- when i made my "bigger error" though it did not cause harm it could have if circumstances had been different but i had no trouble ( i was scared of my reprimand as i knew i would be getting one , namely fired which i was - but i was not afraid to tell on me even though could easily have covered the error up at the time easily) i have made several not so big errors - gave vitamins to wrong resident - ( the both in same room similar names and honest looked a LOT alike - and they had been in their wrong areas - chairs switched to wrong bedside for better view of TV) and i reported myself - any error i have never feared reporting cause that is how changes get made so rrors do not happen again - for others as well. sure makes ya think twice about willingness to report self- i hope i never ever NOT report me - but it sure makes one scared to do so................ i pray it never comes to that fear cause i will quit nursing before i will lie by omission. ......
  6. by   puppersRN
    Kimmi hasn't been a nurse very long. I also have never heard of a physician being criminallly charged with a patients death. As a matter of fact, this nurse is being held far more accountable than any physician who has harmed a patient. It was a mistake and could happen to anyone. The nurse worked a double shift the day before and never even left the hospital before starting her shift that day. There were multiple system failures in place when this tragedy occured. EVERY nurse, doctor, etc makes mistakes- unfortunately this one was fatal. People in glass houses...........
  7. by   RN BSN 2009
    To Err is Human
  8. by   RunningWithScissors
    My hospital is in this system and we are told that as of now, there is a zero tolerance for any med errors.

    Unlike Clarion in Indiana, where the nurses were not disciplined for the infants' deaths because they realized it was a system failure and worked to correct that, our system refuses to believe that anything administration has done (faulty policies) could have led to the error; so the nurses are hung out on the line. System failures? Not here!!!! Nope, the nurse is ALWAYS to blame!
  9. by   Katnip
    Quote from RunningWithScissors
    My hospital is in this system and we are told that as of now, there is a zero tolerance for any med errors.

    Unlike Clarion in Indiana, where the nurses were not disciplined for the infants' deaths because they realized it was a system failure and worked to correct that, our system refuses to believe that anything administration has done (faulty policies) could have led to the error; so the nurses are hung out on the line. System failures? Not here!!!! Nope, the nurse is ALWAYS to blame!
    Excellent way to drive nurses away in droves.

    If you can't be protected when making med errors, then nurses aren't going to report them when they do happen, which in turn puts the patient at risk when the med error isn't caught in time.

    I agree this nurse is responsible for her actions. Pull her license and sue for monetary value-if you can put a value on a human life. But jail time?

    If making med errors becomes commonly criminalized then we're all at risK of winding up in jail.

    It's easy to say it will never happen to you. But how many of you really want to take that risk?
  10. by   crackerjack
    I think there is more to this picture that we aren't seeing. I haven't read all the posts and will but at about halfway through, I'm seeing the same things repeatedly so here is my perspective.

    Compassion. Do I have compassion for this nurse --he!! ya! I feel for her deeply. I hope and pray I never make such a serious mistake. I fear making such a tragic error.

    Mistakes. Yes, plural. There are multiple mistakes that lead to the tragic outcomes in this case. That's just it, there were many mistakes. When is a mistake just a mistake though?

    Criminal neglect. Do we have criminal neglect?
    ne-glect /nɪˈglɛkt/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[ni-glekt] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation -verb (used with object) 1.to pay no attention or too little attention to; disregard or slight: The public neglected his genius for many years. 2.to be remiss in the care or treatment of: to neglect one's family; to neglect one's appearance. 3.to omit, through indifference or carelessness: to neglect to reply to an invitation. 4.to fail to carry out or perform
    neglect - Definitions from Dictionary.com
    The scope of nursing practice
    neglect in nursing, therefore, would be the failure to provide care, give too little attention to, be remiss in care or treatment of....that which any prudent nurse knows to do. Furthermore, due to the human fallibility we all possess, we have the 5 rights of medication administration. All patients have the right to safe care, including medication administration. We're taught in nursing school to adhere to these patient rights and any prudent nurse knows to do any less is neglect.

    The nurse in this situation may have mistakenly failed to check something but for her to purposefully choose to skip an additional fail-safe of scanning the medication, she intentionally neglected her patient. At that point it was no longer human fallibility, it was a choice. That choice resulted in the death of a human being. Whether she meant for a life to be lost due to her choices is irrelevant. The drunk who chooses to get behind the wheel and drive probably doesn't mean for someone to die but if s/he hits and kills a person that doesn't make them any less dead. It's a matter of choices in this case.

    Now, are her statements being maligned? Did she really say she purposely avoided using the scanning checkpoint? Is she color blind making the bright pink label appear less than alarming? There are a thousand questions we don't have the answers to at this point but going on just hte information we have, I can't agree that she should escape this with a slap on the wrist and escape criminal prosecution. A lot of things happen, physical damage, death or other losses that are due to actions where someone didn't mean to cause that outcome. When it comes to death, I think we have to look deeper than whether or not criminal prosecution is required to deter repeat performances by the same person in the future. We have to look at the future for all of us. Would the prosecution of a nurse who knowingly chose to avoid taking all medication administration precautions, including one that requires just scanning -not even reading and checking the MAR against the orders...would that make us all sit up and think twice about it before we did the same or similar? Maybe it will and maybe it won't but if this nurse is given a slap on the wrist and we all see that choosing to do things how we want versus following protocol of checking the 5 rights of med admin as well as any other fail-safe checks our institutions have set up to help us is seen as nothing more than a mistake that even when the results are a human fatality, won't we all feel justified in taking shortcuts and call it a mistake the next time it happens...even if it is one of us?

    I'm afraid that the comparison between how other people for other actions doesn't hold any water. It's about what happened in this case not some doctor(s) action(s) or lack thereof, not the revolving door for drug crimes or anything else. It's about the standards we as nurses are held to when caring for the health and life of other human beings. Yes, we're held to a higher standard. We're entrusted with the weakest, with the strongest when made weak wtih illness, the vulnerable.
  11. by   tvccrn
    I think that crackerjack has made some very valid points in a well-thought out and presented post.