A former Kentucky nurse has pleaded guilty to manslaughter following the death of a 97-year-old patient. Authorities say the nurse administered medication to the patient that had not been prescribed. He died days later from complications stemming from the medication. The nurse was fired and initially charged with murder. Following court-ordered mediation, the nurse is taking a plea deal for second-degree manslaughter charges and faces up to five years in prison.
Taking the Blame for Hospital Errors
Medical errors are more common than most people realize. Many hospital systems are working with a skeleton crew – mishaps and mistakes are bound to happen. Too often, nurses find themselves unfairly positioned as scapegoats for incidents that occur under their watch. Nurses are integral members of the healthcare team. Because of their role in patient care, many become the target of blame when something goes wrong.
A nurse's close proximity to patients and involvement in direct care exposes them to potential errors, even if they are not directly responsible. Nurses often act as intermediaries between patients, doctors, and hospital administrators, making them susceptible to being caught in the crossfire when issues arise. The hierarchical nature of healthcare institutions only exacerbates the issue. When blame is sought to protect the reputation of the hospital, nurses often take the fall.
How Scapegoating Impacts Licensure
In the news story mentioned above, the nurse in question saw her license suspended the same day she was arrested. License suspension is often triggered by arrests – licensing boards don't have the time to investigate fully, so they make a knee-jerk decision to cover their bases. In the eyes of the licensing board, where there is smoke, there is often fire. Leadership would typically rather suspend and reinstate than allow a nurse accused of malpractice to continue working during an investigation.
While this might make sense from a legal point of view, it leaves wrongly accused nurses hung out to dry. Without an active license, nurses and other healthcare professionals cannot earn a living. They can't job hunt or work as a travel nurse and often struggle to provide for their families. While the investigation unfolds, nurses are left to pick up the pieces of their careers.
How a Professional License Defense Attorney Can Help
If you've been accused of a crime while working in healthcare, a professional license defense attorney can help clear your name. Attorney Joseph D. Lento can thoroughly review the details of your case, including medical records, incident reports, and any other relevant documentation, to understand the situation completely. This analysis helps him build a strong defense strategy, ensuring your side of the story is effectively presented.
Joseph D. Lento can also navigate the complex legal processes and administrative proceedings involved in professional license defense. This includes preparing and filing the necessary paperwork, representing you in hearings or meetings, and advocating for your rights and interests.
A professional license defense attorney is a valuable ally for nurses facing disciplinary actions or accusations. If your license has been suspended or an investigation has been launched, there's no time to waste. Contact the Lento Law Firm at (888) 535-3686 today.