60 years in prison!!!

Nurses Activism


Is it just me or does the possibility of 60 years in prison seem a bit harsh for negligence under these circumstances. If you wonder what I am talking about read the Nurse Aid charged with drowning article posted to the your left of home under News. From what they say mistakes where made but a system that leaves six severly disabled people alone with one NA has to be just as quilty as the the person who left victim in the tub. Lets face it folks OJ is out there walking around.

Link to article inserted by brian: https://allnurses.com/news/jump.cgi?ID=698

canoehead, BSN, RN

6,856 Posts

Specializes in ER.

seems difficult to me for one person to supervise 6 people when bathing one of them. i can easily envision a crisis outside the tub that would make you think "it'll be ok for just a minute". the na could've been charged with neglect no matter what choice was made, which is sad. it is unfair to expect someone to be in two places at the same time.

well, rn's can do two places at once, buti draw the line at three...

canoehead, BSN, RN

6,856 Posts

Specializes in ER.

ok, three for a few minutes on a really busy night- but don't ask me to do four...

we all know it's been done. most times it's ok, but there for the grace of god go i. wish healthcare would come to it's senses.


921 Posts

I think it should be the owner of the "Assisted Living" Facility that spends 60 years in prison for providing such an inadequate staff. This NA should never have been charged criminally to begin with. This is an overzealous District Attorney, who knows nothing about the state of affairs in healthcare today. An idiot!! This should be a civil case and the "Assisted Living" Facility should be hit with major punitive damages. I hope this NA has a good attorney and fights this all the way!!


1 Article; 5,758 Posts

I said to myself I hope she has a good lawyer. I fear that if the nursing home provides the lawyer he or she will be more interested in shifting blame to the NA than defending her. We nurses all know about that little trick don't we.


921 Posts

Oramar, this isn't like a civil case where the doctrine of respondeant superior comes into play. This NA is being personally charged with a criminal action, hence the jail time. It doesn't look like the Assisted Living facility is also being charged. (This doesn't mean that the family of the patient isn't hitting them with a civil suit.- money damages, not jail time) The facility will NOT be the one providing her with an attorney. She is on her own! She is being charged with a felony! That's why this is so appalling. Notice in the bottom of the article where it says "Smith and HER Attorney." This is the State of Wisconsin vs. Little ole nurse's aide. Although there doesn't appear to have been any actual nurse on the premises, so I am not sure what nurse she was aiding.

You rarely get health care workers charged criminally like this. It usually is something very horrifying and intentional. These kinds of cases seem to be popping-up more often. It is not a good thing to see!! Who is going to want to be a nurse if they have to worry about being thrown in jail for 60 years for making an unintentional mistake. The state has already barred her from working in a state regulated healthcare facility again, that should be punishment enough.

Nurses in Wisconsin should be in an uproar about this!!

I agree with you. Why were all of these total need care patients left with only one person to assist them?While this lady made a tragic mistake she certainly doesn't deserve to spend time in prison.

The oners of the health care facility should be severly punished if not shut out of health care forever.


135 Posts

This is crazy! One nursing ass.for 6 mentally retarded patients? Patients with seizure disorders on top of it? Isn't there some law that there should be a registered nurse or a licensed nurse? Who was passing the siezure meds? Maybe Wisconsin has different laws, but this seems a little excessive. There are a lot of group homes in my area that have the same type of patients and they aren't left alone with one nursing assistant, even on third shift. I truly feel for this person, she was put in a very bad position. :(

jschut, BSN, RN

2,743 Posts

I just read that story. But you know what? I have been a CNA for many years, and to only have 6 patients would have been a blessing somedays. Even severely handicapped ones. I think what is happening to that girl is wrong, but let's face it. There is a shortage in all nursing areas... from CNA's up to BSN's.

I do agree with what's been said though... the administrator should be the one hanging out to dry... not the lady on whom all this rests now. I'm sure she feels horrid enough.



1 Article; 5,758 Posts

There has been two cases just like this in the Pittsburgh area in the last five years. In both of them the local DA attempted to bring the LTC facility up on criminal charges. In one case the judge tossed the case out and in the other there was a not guilty finding. (I am doing this from memory so I am not exactly sure of the facts) Thank goodness someone had the intellegence to realize that the NA should not be charged. There is one current case going on that involves sexual abuse over a long period of time by an attendant. In this case criminal charges are being brought against the LTC faciity and the attendant. That is a little different than the accidental drowing case. A prison term for an accident seems cruel and unusual punishment to me.


411 Posts

The criteria for Assisted Living should be just that- assist with ADLs, not complete care. The owner and/or administrator should be held accountable for the greater liability here. In the very large assisted living where I worked, many families insisted that their love ones stay in assisted living when they belong in LTC or an Alzheimers facility. No wandering devices were permitted as in this type of residency, the rights of the resident are that they are permitted to leave at will. The staff always commented on the appropriateness, or questioned it, but we were shot down by the administrator in a very abrupt fashion. I recently saw on the allnurses news that an administrator was held responsible. (the way I saw it they should be). I searched , but could not find the article. One staffing person should never be left alone in any facility.

Peeps Mcarthur

1,018 Posts

If you don't think it's right, don't take the assingment. For the patient, your career, and apparently your personal freedom................Simply appalling that no other voice but the caregivers seems to be aware of the core problem.

Today a CNA in some faraway place, tomorrow it could be you:eek: but it will never be the administator that actually facillitated it.

Refuse that unsafe assingment and they will still try to make you feel bad, but hell, it's better than being the concubine of the guy with the most cigaretts!:o

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