Nurse's ex-colleague says felony charge too severe - page 2

A former teacher and colleague of nurse Julie Thao says that the medication error that killed a teenager giving birth at St. Mary's hospital last summer does not warrant the felony charges against... Read More

  1. by   HM2VikingRN
    Like truck drivers on the highway, tired nurses can hurt other people, as well as themselves, when they make errors. In 2006, RN Julie Thao was in her sixteenth hour of work when she connected the wrong bag to an IV tube in a teenage girl about to give birth in Madison, Wisconsin. The baby survived, but the mother died after a painkiller designed to ease her labor stopped her heart instead. An experienced nurse with a good record, Thao was fired, then prosecuted by the state. After a negotiated guilty plea, her license was suspended and she can never again work in critical care.
    With healthcare union backing, nurses have won curbs on mandatory overtime in a few places. But even one of the best state laws, in Maine, gives them the right to refuse additional work only after twelve hours. And there's a big difference between leaving overtime decisions up to individuals and capping everyone's permissible hours to protect patients from any hospital staffer--nurse or doctor-in-training--unable to work safely. Nurses are allowed by hospitals, often with union acquiescence, to work as many shifts, twelve hours or longer, per week as they wish. Meanwhile, American Medical College Association guidelines allow notoriously sleep-deprived interns and residents to be on duty eighty hours every week. Both practices fly in the face of studies showing that, among nurses, error rates increase after ten hours on the job, plus personal health suffers because of more back, neck, shoulder and needle-stick injuries, stress-related illnesses, smoking and drinking, and after-work car accidents.
    source: http://www.thenation.com/doc/20071105/early_gordon accessed today.

    The system problem was involuntary OT. She is paying a very heavy price.
  2. by   HM2VikingRN
    MADISON, Wis. -- The former St. Mary's Hospital nurse accused of making a series of errors that led to the death of a 16-year-old patient in July pleaded no contest Friday to two misdemeanors as part of an agreement with prosecutors.
    ...
    Thao was sentenced to three years of probation. As part of the plea agreement, she can't practice as a critical care nurse during that time.
    ...
    Steve Sparks, director of public relations at St. Mary's, said Friday afternoon that despite the agreement, they didn't think that Thao should have been charged.

    "We at St. Mary's continue to believe that Julie Thao's actions should not have resulted in a criminal charge," Sparks said in a news release. "While we are gratified that the criminal process has come to an end, the resolution is still troubling to the extent there are future implications of charging a health care provider for a tragic, but unintentional act."

    Friday's hearing comes one day after state regulators suspended Thao's nursing license for nine months and warned that she would face greater scrutiny for two years if she returns to nursing.
    Source: http://www.channel3000.com/news/10547840/detail.html accessed today.

    Talk about being scapegoated.......
  3. by   sanctuary
    Will the system be examined to see how a medication designed for one route could be given in another, deadly one? How about different connectors, ports, etc, so that it can't happen?
  4. by   leslymill
    It was a pretty gross error. We are accountable for what we do.
    I am with you all about their being no criminal intent, but it was a blatant laps in more than one safety policy. Nurses are in-trusted with peoples lives and this error is truly gross.
    I don't think the error is any different than the Dilantin dose given in Florida that caused a pt death or the Filipino student nurse who gave the IVP of undiluted KCL. These nurses will never practice again that I can see. Their lives are ruined from the mistakes themselves. Felony charges just rubs salt into a grossly painful wound.
  5. by   leslymill
    Quote from HM2Viking
    RN Julie Thao was in her sixteenth hour of work when she connected the wrong bag to an IV tube in a teenage girl about to give birth in Madison, Wisconsin. .

    The system problem was involuntary OT. She is paying a very heavy price.

    Okay I read this after my post. It does SHEAD GREAT LIGHT into how this could possible happen without intent.

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