reply to post by Maxmars
You're generally correct in what you say. There is the law of "respondant superior" which basically means that the erring ones superior hired the
erring one and should have known what they were getting; making the "superiors" liable. This is why lawyers usually go after the doctors and
facility that hired the one who made the error. Suing the nurse is pretty futile as the nurse doesn't make enough money to make it worthwhile.
On the flip side, it was determined long ago that nurses (registered nurses anyway) were considered professionals who were properly trained and should
know enough to disregard a doctors order which they knew to be a bad order. I told an doctor once that "you can write a stupid order but I'm not
going to note it or carry it out. You might want to rethink that one." I paid dearly for my "insubordination" but when they threatened to get
another nurse to carry out the lethally stupid order, I threatened to go to the family and tell them what was coming down the pike.
I once had a doctor with 2 patients on the unit. He wrote perfectly acceptable orders for each patient....just on the wrong charts. He wrote patient
"A's" orders on patient "B's" chart and vice versa. I pointed it out, politely, and was told, "Don't you EVER question an attending
physician's orders, girlie" which caused me to explode. I took the problem all the way up the chain of command and the doctor was told to "just
fix it" and I was given a black mark for "not being a team player". I had to threaten to expose the lot of them to get the black mark removed.
Not many nurses (who are mainly female) have the hutzpah to risk their careers in order to protect complete strangers (patients).
The nursing board ruled (a few years ago) that nurses' are NO LONGER PRIMARILY PATIENT ADVOCATES. We are now corporate pawns whose loyalty is
supposed to be to the "company". Most of us are quietly ignoring that mandate and voting our conscience, consequences be hanged.
That said, the woman taking the pill that caused her damage was wronged. She is not required or expected to have the training or knowledge to
determine her own healthcare which is why she went to a doctor in the first place. She is, however, expected to take an active role in her own care
and at least ask questions and make informed choices based on the answers to those questions.
I pass pills to approximately 25 patients a day. Average 10 pills per patient. I have 1 hour to pass them all or get "written up" for a med error
(wrong time). Many of the meds have to be crushed. Some patients want it in pudding, some in applesauce, some with water, some spit them back out
which causes me to have to go down the hall and get all 10 of their pills and crush them again. During that harried hour, the phone rings 20 times,
25 family members want to stop and tell me about their aunt Bertha's bursitis and bowel movements, 12 people are lost and want directions on how to
get where they want to go in the facility, the boss comes around and tells me my uniform has a spot on it (from the spit up meds) and I need to
"clean that up immediately" or risk getting sent home, the doctor comes in and wants me to stop what I'm doing to do rounds with him and write
down his orders, one of the staff members is experiencing chest pain and could I just do a quick blood pressure check, glucose fingerstick and EKG, a
patient falls out of bed and requires immediate attention, etc. All the while, I must know the classification, mechanism of action, side effects,
contraindications of all those meds I just passed, watch for adverse reactions, chart on all of it, and keep my sanity. Damn! I'm good!
Actually, I'm surprised there aren't more incidents like the one mentioned in the article.