ER Patient Death+Insufficient Ratios= BRN Investigation

by | May 26, 2009

ER Patient Death+Insufficient Ratios= BRN Investigation

RN GUARDIAN CASE STUDY 5/26/09
Allegations of insufficient patient care, often lead to BRN investigations. Such was the case for a San Bernardino County RN who worked at a local hospital emergency room. The RN was working a weekend swing shift which required her to work during the busiest ER hours Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. One particularly busy night, a male in his mid 20’s was admitted with moderate cuts and abrasions from an apparent motorcycle crash. Unfortunately, due to the crowded conditions of the ER, the patient was required to wait for an extended period of time. This did not appear to be a problem to the intake RN as the patient was stable, did not appear to have significant injuries, and was able to wait in a relatively comfortable state. After between 60-90 minutes of waiting in the ER waiting room, the patient went into cardiac arrest. Emergency personnel that were on scene immediately responded and attended to the patient. Unfortunately, the patient could not be revived.
The patient’s cause of death and the reason for his cardiac arrest were not immediately apparent. Both the hospital and the patient’s family conducted their own highly comprehensive investigations. Legal claims and ultimately lawsuits were filed by the patient’s family. Portions of that case are still pending. However, as a result of the hospital’s investigation, the BRN was somehow notified of the incident. BRN launched its own investigation into the conduct of three RN’s, including the supervising RN. The BRN alleged that the RN somehow breached standards of patient care. By the time BRN/Department of Consumer Affairs Investigators became involved, both the hospital and the patient’s family completed thorough investigations. The BRN investigators obtained significant portions of those investigations. The most significant portion of those investigations were the detailed statements given by the RN’s. Each RN gave statements to hospital investigators without the advice of legal counsel. The BRN moved to take disciplinary action against two RN”s based, in a large, on inconsistencies in the RN’s statements and conflicts in the evidence with the RN’s statements.
RN Guardian lawyers handled the administrative appeal for one of the affected RN’s. RN Guardian lawyers were able to obtain a dismissal of the charges prior to hearing. Unfortunately for the RN, that dismissal came almost 24 months after the death of the patient in the Emergency Room. It is important to note that the entire BRN investigation might have been avoided had the RN been given the opportunity to consult with legal counsel prior to giving a statement. Had the RN, given a more informed and, accordingly, more accurate statement it is unlikely the BRN would have initiated an investigation in the first place.
The San Bernardino ER case demonstrates real value of RN Guardian which is to provide critical advice and consultation to RN’s to avoid BRN and legal proceedings. Fortunately, for the RN Guardian protected member, the entire matter ended favorably. The most difficult part for the RN was enduring the lengthy investigation process and the possibility that her license may have been interfered with by the BRN. RN Guardian urges its members to communicate with an RN Guardian lawyer at any time an event or incident occurs which may lead to some type of investigation or adverse consequence to the RN.
Papers used by a Sacramento Wage Claim Lawyer

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