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An experienced nurse attorney has surely helped a lot of RNs and LVNs when it comes to cases that may lead toward disciplinary action. Unfortunately, not all nurses were able to hire a nurse attorney as they underwent such cases. This incident that an RN committed on January 9, 2010, was one of those examples.

On or about August 20, 2016, while employed as Staff Nurse in Houston, the RN failed to ensure an electrocardiogram (EKG) was performed for a patient, who presented to the ED with chest pain and vomiting.

Additionally, the RN failed to document physical assessments for the aforementioned patient.  The  oncoming  staff performed  an  EKG  which  showed  a  ST elevation myocardial  infarction (STEMI).

The RN’s conduct was likely to injure the patient from unrecognized clinical changes, deprived the patient of timely medical interventions needed to stabilize their change in condition, and resulted in an incomplete medical record.

The Texas Board of Nursing has full jurisdiction over all cases regarding errors committed by an RN or LVN. Thus, she was called by the Board to defend against the case.

In response to the complaints filed against her, the RN states that there were many extenuating and mitigating circumstances contributing to this event. She indicates that she wasn’t notified when the patient was brought back to the ED by the triage RN.

The RN explains that she was caring for a critical patient. She further adds that there was a new policy which stated that chest pain patients were to come straight back to a bed, and a team would get the EKG, intravenous line, labs, and monitor.

She states that she began asking for help: one RN never responded, another RN was busy, and she doesn’t remember the House Supervisor’s response.

The RN relates that the machine showing the patient’s VS was malfunctioning, and not pulling the vital signs into the system’s main monitor and into the Electronic Medical Record (EMR). She explains that any EKG results were also not communicated to the desk and EMR till the end of shift, so no one noticed that it wasn’t done. 

The RN states that as the patient returned from the computed tomography (CT) scan, she was giving report to the oncoming nurse, and they both realized that the EKG hadn’t been done by the triage nurse as she had asked; the EKG was immediately performed and labeled a STEMI. She adds that there was also a staff shortage with no techs in the ED from 4 am- 7 am leaving no one to do visuals in triage if the triage RN was occupied.

The following incident and defense against the case caused the Texas Board of Nursing to place the RN and her license into disciplinary proceedings. She would have sought assistance from a good nurse attorney to provide clarifications towards the case.

If you’ve ever done any errors during your shift as an RN or LVN, and you wish to preserve your career and your license, an experienced nurse attorney is what you need. Nurse Attorney Yong J. An, an experienced nurse lawyer for various licensing cases for 14 years, can assist you by contacting him at (832) 428-5679.