Patient abuse and the board taking too long to act


The DON of a correctional facility threatens patients when their families call and voice concerns about care not given. She has rolled patients out in wheelchair away from other patients so they cannot be witness, and has threatened to deny them food, baths, medicine and having them moved to solitary so that they cannot contact their family. Today she rolled a patient out threatened that if their family didn't stop calling and complaining she would move him to solitary so he could not contact anyone. She told him if he tells his family one more time that other inmates are feeding him, (he cannot use either hand) that he would be put in solitary and that he really wouldn't eat then. She then turned around and told him if he tells his family that the other inmates are bathing him and taking him to the bathroom she would put him solitary and he could just sit in his waste. She got in his face and told him he better not have one more phone call to the jail or she promised if he thought his situation was bad it would be worse. This lady has been reported to the board I guess because it's a jail they don't care, I'm not sure but other nurses have complained about her as well and nothing seems to be getting done. If this patient is our in solitary he will suffer from dehydration he cannot feed or give himself anything to drink. He cannot take himself to the bathroom or wash himself. Basically she is threatening to kill him legally if his family calls and complains about the care he is not getting. Why is the board if nursing not taking this serious?

allnurses Guide

hppygr8ful, ASN, RN, EMT-I

4 Articles; 4,721 Posts

Specializes in Psych, Addictions, SOL (Student of Life). Has 21 years experience.

Do you have all this documented somewhere? Even if it's in a private diary with a timeline of events you need this to continue. If this is a correctional facility then your other option is to report this to whatever agency in your state or province is in charge of prisoner's rights.

Be aware that the wheels of the BON grind slowly and they may have an active investigation going on without you knowing it. Also if you or any other nurses are standing by and not stepping in you are just as culpable in the eyes of the law for any abuse that is happening. Doing the right thing in these situations is never easy and can untimately cost you your job. Still if patient's were being abused in my presence I would step in and I have.



68 Posts

Yes it is being documented and kept up with and the patient was informed to keep letting their family know what's happening. I do not work there but I'm trying to advise the nurse that does. If I did work there this wouldn't be flying with me I would have every news station in there showing everything that's going on literally. The nurse was very upset to find out last night they sat the pts lunch and dinner tray in front of him yesterday but because he cannot feed him self, he didn't eat for either meal.

Double-Helix, BSN, RN

1 Article; 3,377 Posts

Specializes in PICU, Sedation/Radiology, PACU. Has 12 years experience.

The board of nursing is not the (only) place this should be reported. Who manages the prison? Who is the DON's boss? What agencies oversee treatment of prisoners in that state? Those are the places that this needs to be reported.


68 Posts

I actually had her call the governor's office thinking that would be the place to start, but she stated she was informed they are not over them, I told her to call the board if health and they said they were not over them, so pretty much I just told her to turn to the board. I just cannot believe a nurse would threaten a patients life because they do not want to provide the care, they are paid to give and I had the previous information wrong it's not the DON it's the nurse administrator, which is over the DON. I was informed she did let the medical director know this morning about the patient not being fed yesterday. She said he kicked the complaint back down to the nurse administrator, who told the DON to let the nursing staff know they are not to go above her head. I just feel awful for her and she's a fighter so I know she's not going to quit until her patients are protected.


483 Posts

This is not just a case of a nurse mistreating a patient. This is a violation of the prisoner's civil rights.

Prisoners are entitled to medical care and attention to treat both short term conditions and long term illnesses.

Inmates have the right to complain about prison conditions and voice their concerns about the treatment they receive.

If your friend hasn't already done so, she needs to notify prison officials in writing.

If prison officials do not address this, here are some options for her:

Department of Justice (will investigate state and local jails/prisions)

Rights Of Persons Confined To Jails And Prisons | CRT | Department of Justice


Prisoners' Rights | American Civil Liberties Union

Know Your Rights: Medical, Dental, and Mental Health Care | American Civil Liberties Union

Resources by state

Resources by State | The Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights


68 Posts

Thank you I will share this with her. I did think about the ACLU but we couldn't find one in our area, but hopefully their National office can help. She's really stressed, and had more horror stories if other patients. Basically she says the CEO tells the nurse admin to fix it, and she comes in and threatens patients and if they don't stop she with holds meds, with holds food moves then to confinement. I mean this lady sounds like she's in the right place a jail but she should be a convict not free to leave on her own.


68 Posts

I did tell my friend that she said the patient has lost 15 pounds so the nurse administrator, told the nurses not to weigh him. This lady it blows my mind that she's a nurse. I cannot begin to imagine how many people she's hurt on purpose.

Honestly this sounds like it would qualify as a police matter and that criminal charges should be filed against her. As you said, it sounds like she's in the right place, just in the wrong role.

Has 13 years experience.

There are plenty of nurses and physicians like this out there. They often just get passed around from job to job because employers don't want to deal with the issues. Hopefully the board takes action and revokes her license.