What would you do if, at a moment when you were egregiously breaking your employer's rules, the person breaking the rules with you suddenly suffered a heart attack?
That's the question one nurse in Wales, United Kingdom, had to confront when an affair with a patient suddenly turned into a life-or-death dilemma.
The nurse, 42-year-old Penelope Williams, was engaged in an illicit sexual encounter with an unnamed patient who had been receiving dialysis treatment at the Wrexham hospital where Williams worked. The two were in the patient's car when he collapsed in the back seat of what would ultimately prove to be a heart attack.
The report claims that Williams resisted calling for emergency care for the patient, despite her coworkers urging her to. Presumably, Williams feared that her liaison with the patient would come to light, and she would lose her job if not her license to practice nursing.
Eventually, first responders did arrive after a colleague called them, but the patient had passed away by the time they reached the man.
If You Find Yourself in an Ethical Dilemma Where Safety Is at Stake, Always Err on the Side of Others' Well-being
While it is easy to criticize nurse Penelope Williams' deception in the face of a medical emergency, it isn't easy to overstate how important one's livelihood is to them. Williams knew that her nursing license could be revoked if superiors learned she was having an affair with a patient, so she acted in a manner she thought would protect her license.
Williams was wrong, but one can understand why she acted how she acted. Countless other professionals have compounded one mistake in efforts to keep their livelihood intact.
If you ever find yourself in a similar ethical dilemma related to your profession, prioritize the safety and well-being of everyone involved. Past mistakes can be rectified, so don't dig yourself into a deeper hole by making more.
Retain a Professional License Defense Attorney When a Lapse in Judgment Threatens Your Career
Penelope Williams should have called emergency services the moment she realized her partner's life was at risk—at that point, concerns about her career should have been immaterial. Once the man received immediate medical attention, however, Williams would have been justified in hiring a Professional License Defense Attorney from the Lento Law Firm.
Concerns about one's nursing license are high-priority, and our firm's attorneys fight to help clients avoid suspensions, revocations, and other sanctions that affect their livelihood. If we were to advise Williams, we may have told her to do everything possible to save the man's life, call our Professional License Defense Team as soon as possible, then allow us to contain the professional fallout related to the affair.
What Should Professionals Do When Lapses in Judgment Come to Light?
Mistakes happen. Doctors, nurses, financial advisors, therapists, construction workers, plumbers, and every other professional is an imperfect human prone to error. When you reach the crossroads where a poor decision has jeopardized your livelihood, let an attorney from the Lento Law Firm Team defend it.
If you rely solely on yourself to protect your license once you've made a mistake, you risk making the sort of rash (and perhaps even fatal) decision that nurse Penelope Williams did.
Do not compound one mistake by making a more egregious one. Make an ethical decision and let our team address any errors you've made in the past.
Hire an Attorney From the Lento Law Firm to Free Yourself from Dangerous Judgment Calls
Left to our own devices, we sometimes make fear-based decisions that endanger others and ourselves. The story of nurse Penelope Williams typifies our propensity to panic when we fear that our reputation or professional license could be at risk.
When you hire the Lento Law Firm, you don't have to make judgment calls alone. Our team will rely on real-world experience in professional license defense and extensive legal training as we advise you on the right course of action.