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Hospital denies wrongdoing in nurse/catheter issue case

Fourteen catheter lines used for delivering food and medication in a Las Vegas hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit were found severed over a period of time. In a July 2010 incident, the coroner’s office ruled the death of an infant who fell victim to one of these severed lines a homicide. No one has been charged in the baby’s death. Two nurses were fired over the incidents. The nurses filed litigation against the hospital on several charges, including wrongful termination.

The hospital conducted an investigation into the broken or defective catheters and determined that two nurses were at fault for the broken catheters. The Nevada State Board of Nursing suspended both nurses’ licenses, but later reinstated the licenses. One of the nurses filed the lawsuit, alleging that the hospital wrongfully fired her and laid the blame on nurses, instead of administrators.

In the lawsuit, the plaintiff nurse alleges that the catheters were defective and that there had been problems with the catheters since late 2009. The lines allegedly separated, which interrupted the flow of medication and nourishment, according to the nurse’s lawsuit. The nurse also alleges that the hospital is trying to protect its own interests and blame nurses for the problems with the catheters because the hospital did not investigate the defective catheters.

The hospital refuses to rehire the nurses, stating that at least one of the nurse’s claims could be barred because she broke hospital rule by engaging in improper or unlawful conduct while she was employed by the hospital. One of the nurses also alleges in her lawsuit that the hospital committed defamation, slander, libel, negligence conspiracy, wrongful termination, infliction of emotional distress, racketeering, intentional interference with prospective economic advantage and fraud. According to the lawsuit, the economic advantage count alleges that the hospital and its administrators made a public statement that caused the nurse to be unemployable in her field.

Source: Las Vegas Sun, “Sunrise Hospital sued by nurse fired in catheter incidents,” Steve Green, March 9, 2012

John P. Aldrich
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