Nurse, hospital sued in baby's death

  1. This just made it to the news here in the Atalnta area. Very scary.


    Nurse, hospital sued in baby's death

    A new nurse who flunked her board exams was left unsupervised at Atlanta Medical Center to watch over a woman who was about to give birth — with deadly consequences.
    The nurse, Romona Duncan, didn't spot warning signs that the baby was in trouble, the baby's parents have alleged in a lawsuit. Newborn Emmanuel Scott, died 13 days later.

    Now Emmanuel's parents, Alethia and Niko Scott, are suing Duncan, the hospital and the more experienced nurse who was supposed to supervise Duncan.
    The case is scheduled for trial in January in Fulton County State Court, but Judge Diane Bessen recently ordered both sides to try to work out some kind of agreement in mediation, which is expected to begin next week.
    The parents are backed by veteran Atlanta obstetrician and gynecologist, Dr. Donald Block, who signed an affidavit saying he believes the baby would have been healthy at birth were it not for the new nurse's substandard care. Block, who reviewed the Scotts' medical records and the baby's autopsy, also singled out veteran nurse Lisa McGhee for not supervising the new nurse, according to court records.
    In legal documents, attorneys for the hospital, its parent company, Tenet Healthsystem, and the nurses, denied wrongdoing.

    Full Story:
    http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/met...2metnurse.html
    Last edit by brian on Nov 2, '06
  2. Visit Mistify profile page

    About Mistify

    Joined: Aug '04; Posts: 68; Likes: 3
    Specialty: 15 year(s) of experience

    35 Comments

  3. by   BSNtobe2009
    OMG, this article is written so unfairly. It doenn't state how long the new nurse was left with the baby..was it a few minutes or a few hours? Does GA have a temporary nursing license for new grads?

    If anyone was to blame, it was the nurse that was supposed to supervise the new nurse, but I feel sorry for the new grad, b/c there are a ton of nurses who don't pass their exam the first time.

    This is so sad.
  4. by   cardiacRN2006
    What an awful situation! I feel bad for everyone involved.

    The article did say that they baby was showing signs of distress for 2 hours before brought to the attention of doctors. The fact that the new nurse turned the pt on her side means that she was aware of the situation, but didn't know what else to do. I wonder, was she alone for the whole 2 hours? I can't imagine her not telling her preceptor what she was doing. My preceptor frequently leaves me alone while she gets lunch or goes and pays a bill, so I know that it can happen.

    How sad...
  5. by   angel337
    this is so discouraging to new nurses. actually its discouraging to me also. it makes me really want to get away from the bedside. there is a constant threat of possibly doing something wrong, no matter how small it is and the next thing you know you're in court. so sad. i know a nurse who was threatened to be sued because she gave a med an hour late.
  6. by   augigi
    Depends on the situation - anyone can make a mistake, but I'd be more worried about a patient having a bad outcome than me getting sued!
  7. by   HappyNurse2005
    OK-i wish there were more details.

    being a new to L&D nurse, a few things come to mind....

    does this unit not have central monitoring, where all monitor strips are visible at the nurses station, as the screen saver in all patient rooms, etc? If there had been, then another nurse might have noticed a bad tracing on the monitor and gone on to assist the new nurse.

    and "the heart rate was dropping"-were these prolonged late decels from the start, going on for 2 hours, and she didnt say anything? or was it a strip that was subtely getting worse and maybe she didn't know enough to realize the problem-in which case, where was her mentor?

    did this nurse fail her boards, and then was working as a grad nurse? b/c isn't that a big no-no after you fail?

    it seems like several opportunities to remedy this could have been fixed. i wish we knew more details-with such limited details, it presents an unfavorable and incorrect image to the non-knowledgeable public.
  8. by   Jolie
    Why am I not surprised that this happened at a Tenet hospital?

    Obviously, we know very little about the staffing of the unit and the supervision of this (unlicensed) nurse. But I have experienced this organization's poor staffing and poor quality of care, and it doesn't surprise me that this would happen in one of their hospitals.
  9. by   HappyNurse2005
    Is Tenet an organization, such as HCA?

    never heard of it
  10. by   asher315
    There are alot of unanswered questions about this heartbreaking situation. How big is the unit and were there other L&D nurses around? Did they have central monitoring? Our monitors alarm every time the FHR drops below a certain level, were alarms working? Where was the preceptor for 2 hours without checking on an unlicensed (?) nurse ? (I am supposing she was a graduate nurse.).

    Another sad part to this story is that for every one bad outcome, there are hundreds of good ones that are taken for granted by families, doctors and hospitals. Nurses who do L&D and recognize the s/s of maternal and fetal distress and do everything they can to correct it. And if unable to correct it, they make the MD aware and let her/him handle it (sometimes encouraging, cajoling, nagging or whatever it takes to get the situation handled). You know what I mean.

    I will be very interested how this turns out.
  11. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Wayyyyy too much missing from the story (presumably due to the need for juris prudence) to even make ANY calls as to what led to this poor patient and her baby being left in the care of an obviously-incapable nurse.

    I feel so badly for all concerned.
  12. by   wubbakat
    I read the article, I too am wondering if what ever hospital this was grants priviledges to GN's, and where was the nurse that was working over her. Despite the fact that she tried interventions to correct the deceleration, where was her preceptor? I do alot of precepting at my facility, I review my pt's strips even though I have a preceptee charting on "our" pt, where for 2 hours was her preceptor? The first line of the article implied that a nurse who "flunked" her boards was taking care of this pt. I feel very sorry for this new graduate. It was a huge event in everyone's life, she was not alone in this, and the article is read that way, at least I took it that way. There has got to be alot of missing information to this. I am truely sorry for everyone.
  13. by   PANurseRN1
    Quote from BSNtobe2009
    OMG, this article is written so unfairly. It doenn't state how long the new nurse was left with the baby..was it a few minutes or a few hours? Does GA have a temporary nursing license for new grads?

    If anyone was to blame, it was the nurse that was supposed to supervise the new nurse, but I feel sorry for the new grad, b/c there are a ton of nurses who don't pass their exam the first time.

    This is so sad.
    I note that there's no info about how many pts. the experienced nurse had to care for in addition to supervising the new grad.

    So many students and new grads seem to think it's a piece of cake to be a preceptor, and that all experienced nurses should have no problem taking on supervising new grads. This article is a scary reminder for those of us with experience as to how risky being a preceptor can be. That new grad who screws up can take you down, too.
  14. by   Indy
    Georgia does not do temporary licenses for graduate nurses. You work as a tech, extern, whatever they want to call you, until you pass boards.

    And I've known some lazy preceptors who don't go in their patients rooms much; all preceptors need to remember that they are responsible for what goes on with that patient assignment. Really, she shouldn't have had a preceptor in the first place, because until the name's up on the BON website, with a license number by it, she's not a nurse.

close