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Negligence in correctional nursing

Posted

http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_26524315/man-sues-after-losing-five-toes-arapahoe-county?source=JBarTicker

This is a pretty scary story. I don't work in corrections but it got me wondering how often this sort of thing might be happening. I can see why it would be easy to develop compassion fatigue in corrections, but there seems to be a clear line that was crossed in this example. Hopefully this story brings more awareness, but I also wonder if it might be difficult for the inmate to win since the jail and the contractor are trying to blame the inmate.

mikethemurse, BSN, RN

Has 6 years experience.

While this is a tragic story I can't help but feel that we are not getting the whole picture here. Unfortunately in this specialty our successes are never heard of while our mistakes are front page news. As a nurse working in corrections for many years I have heard similar tragic stories and have always treated them as cautionary tales. As a professional I am appalled at such an outcome but I also know that the majority of nurses working in corrections are smart innovative and no less than spectacular on a day to day basis. It is a shame that we are judged as a whole when these things make the headlines. Meanwhile there are entire t.v. shows devoted to medical mishaps in hospitals not used to shock but to entertain. JMHO.

OrganizedChaos, LVN

Specializes in M/S, LTC, Corrections, PDN & drug rehab. Has 10 years experience.

I agree with everything the PP said. If I was working & got a sick call that said anything to that extent I would go look at his foot & if it was that bad I would've brought him to the doctor that day. Of course we're only getting his side & we can't get CHC side due to HIPPA so we don't know what happen on medical's side.

I have a hard time believing that medical just brushed him off & made him wait days & weeks. But I don't know, I don't work there. I have worked in corrections & if something seemed really wrong I went & checked on the inmate then & there. If not, I set up a sick call with me or the doctor.

I know it's tough working in corrections because we get tired of all the bull feces we get fed from the inmates so we tend to put up a hard shell. But we're still nurses & we can tell when someone is really sick. When someone really needs help & compassion.

Pudnluv, ASN, RN

Specializes in ED. Has 20 years experience.

The photo Huffington has was clearly taken before all the toes were gone. The picture in the Denver Post shows all the toes on the right foot have been removed.

We only see one side of the story, but from what I can see, there is clearly negligence involved. I've been in corrections for about a year now (part time, I work full time in the ED) and here are some things I see in my facility......

1. Hiring new grads with poor assessment skills. I'm not saying they are bad nurses, they just lack experience and I have seen many develop really good skills as they gained experience.

2. Sick call slips not answered in a timely manner and lack of prioritization in answering the slips.

3. Medical records staff pulling inmates off the schedule to be seen in clinic. (This one really ticks me off).

4. Not having the proper equipment.

5. Having to pull teeth to get someone sent out to the ED.

Personally, if I had seen someone with bleeding toes and necrosis, I would have sent him out. Sometimes it's better to beg forgiveness than ask permission. I'm sure that not all facilities are like that, but as with anything, there is good and there is bad.

OrganizedChaos, LVN

Specializes in M/S, LTC, Corrections, PDN & drug rehab. Has 10 years experience.

The photo Huffington has was clearly taken before all the toes were gone. The picture in the Denver Post shows all the toes on the right foot have been removed.

We only see one side of the story, but from what I can see, there is clearly negligence involved. I've been in corrections for about a year now (part time, I work full time in the ED) and here are some things I see in my facility......

1. Hiring new grads with poor assessment skills. I'm not saying they are bad nurses, they just lack experience and I have seen many develop really good skills as they gained experience.

2. Sick call slips not answered in a timely manner and lack of prioritization in answering the slips.

3. Medical records staff pulling inmates off the schedule to be seen in clinic. (This one really ticks me off).

4. Not having the proper equipment.

5. Having to pull teeth to get someone sent out to the ED.

Personally, if I had seen someone with bleeding toes and necrosis, I would have sent him out. Sometimes it's better to beg forgiveness than ask permission. I'm sure that not all facilities are like that, but as with anything, there is good and there is bad.

I remember when I was a new nurse & I worked at a big prison & I was sent to ad seg by myself. An inmate came to me with a high blood pressure & instead of taking him to the main medical, I sent him back back to his cell. Obviously a bad call.

#2 is a big problem.

The last facility I worked in was so incredibly back logged on sick calls that it was months behind.

I never had medical records take inmates off the sick call list. I would lose it.

Not having the proper equipment, I'm use to that working in corrections.

I remember one time we were trying to send a guy out because he was having a heart attack & the doctor didn't want us to. I swear.

avahnel, ASN, RN

Specializes in Orthopedic, Corrections. Has 5 years experience.

I would like to believe that this type of care would never be delivered at the facility I work at. These are the reasons why:

1. Sick call slips are taken by the nurses on the floor passing medications. They do an assessment of the inmate at the time of the sick call, and take care of the complaint that day. If a medical provider needs to be consulted they are available 9-3 M-F. If it is after hours, someone is on call.

2. I have never had to beg to send someone out to a local ED. If in my nursing judgment, they need to go out, they go. I just have to call a medical provider for the order.

3. I cannot count the number of times our medical director has given me the order: "Just put them in the infirmary over night, I will look at them in the morning." if I call him about someone I am concerned about while assessing people in intake. However, if I truly want them assessed by a physician at the time of my intake assessment, I do not accept them and make the officer obtain a fit for confinement.

Corrections is a stressful specialty. I am appalled at the number of articles I see that paint correctional nurses (or corrections officers for that matter) in a bad light. The nurses I work with would never have let this happen in the facility I work at.

My other comment is this. I am so skeptical now after working for two years in corrections. I bet there is much more to this story than we know about.

OrganizedChaos, LVN

Specializes in M/S, LTC, Corrections, PDN & drug rehab. Has 10 years experience.

I'm sure there is more to the story but we might never know it.

Corrections is stressful but I love it.