Liablity question..

  1. Last week I had a 3 baby assignment. All 3 feeders, one had a trach who was on room air, no vent. Looked to be an easy assigment. About halfway through my assignment, one of my babies got a distended, firm belly, on top of getting blood, and multiple HR drops (at one point we had 15-20 in a 30 min window). So I called the doc and got that ball rolling. (please not NEC) Naturally She took most of my time, and luckily my parents were there for my other two, and the ET nurse was teaching trach care to the parents of my trach baby. (Thank God for small things!) So one of the nurses apparently was working a 6 hr and left at 1300. I didnt realize that she was going home, so she asked me to feed her 1400, but I thought she was trying to go to lunch.. (that would have been nice, as would a potty break!!!) Anyway. At 1500, I had a question and was looking for her and was informed that she had gone. No formal report was given, just written for the on coming nurse, who got there about 1530-1600. The other nurse in my section (9 babies in a section) had one on a vent, plus one other. So between the 2 of us, we had 9 babies, on on a vent, one with a trach, and one with possible nec... Who is technically liable for the other 4 babies, and would my license be on the line if something happened to one? Could that technically be abandonment on the part of the nurse who left, even if it was scheduled? I really didnt have time to pick up half an assignment on top of my baby going down hill!
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    About Preemienurse23

    Joined: Sep '06; Posts: 214; Likes: 37
    NICU Nurse


  3. by   brissie
    If the nurse who left did not hand over patient care to another licensed nurse then she abandoned her patients. Saying can you feed my baby at 1400 is not handing over patient care. Did you contact your charge nurse about this?
  4. by   Preemienurse23
    I say it as possible abandonment, but she came in for extra hours, and it was a scheduled 6 hrs. But the next shift change wasn't till 3, and the nurse wasn't there till almost 4. Luckily my baby didn't have NEC, but we still didn't know what was going on. I didn't have time to take care of 2 more, I think the other nurse could have, but she still had a vent baby... I'm just thankful that nothing happened.
  5. by   RainDreamer
    Wow, that's terrible!

    Is the charge nurse an idiot?!

    Sorry, but if it was a scheduled 6 hour shift, then the charge nurse must have known that, and therefore knew what would have been done with the 6-hour shift nurse's assignment.
  6. by   Preemienurse23
    I wonder sometimes, but I think the charge nurse also had an assignment. I'm liking the unit, and the hospital, but the staffing is horrible right now. I was part of a fairly large intern group, and we lost about the same number of experienced nurses as interns....That scares me.
  7. by   Mechi
    Whenever you get this type of situation filed an incident report and send it to risk management dept via fax or intradepartament mail,not e mail do not give to any body just send it to risk management dept explaining the situation ,if anything happens you will be covered and the hospital responsable for short staff
    Ex:In your unit you must have and incident report paper work with a number
    write everything they asked or stick the patients name label and medical record number ,incident you should mark unit short of staff ,then explained the situation .You need to send it within 3 days of the event,that should help in malpractice law suit to cover your licence ,make sure you always write if you call your supervisor or manager for help and write their names and answers.You need to sighn it with your co-worker as a witness.Incident report are to help you to have a cove up in your liability if you are concerned with some of your practice.Some managers thinks it is a punished to them from the staff nurse.
    EX :I had a similar case in the ER in dicember we were short 3 nurses 17 beds I closed 4 rooms and call every staff to help at home to come to work if possible no body to help,call my supervisor ,the manager,and the upper levels no help.Medicaid audited a pts chart that day, a pt had fever it took us 1 hour to give the baby 3 months tylenol because we were in the trauma room .The risk management came to the unit 2 weeks latter and we had a meeting with our manager I told her I did file an incident report about that case to your dept gave the number which I kept in my house file and case closed I was dismissed from the meeting.No problem for me we got 4 more nurses hired in the unit within 2 months .Full staff now with needed list for xtra hours if anybody wants overtime.
  8. by   fergus51
    JCAHO does NOT look kindly on nurses leaving a written report and taking off. Not cool at all.
  9. by   Preemienurse23
    Quote from fergus51
    JCAHO does NOT look kindly on nurses leaving a written report and taking off. Not cool at all.
    Yeah I didn't think it was too cool myself. I was more irritated than anything. But the shift was survived with nothing bad happening, so I have that to be thankful for!
  10. by   BittyBabyGrower
    If the charge nurse knew that this nurse was leaving, then she is responsible for her assignment. If we have to leave early, we report off to the charge nurse and leave a written report. If the oncoming nurse has any questions, she phones the other nurse.