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Thursday, May 31st, 2012 2:36 pm
Murphy Jones LLP has filed a civil complaint in the District Court of Nevada on behalf of nurse Jessica Rice, RN against Sunrise Hospital Medical Center, et. al., for Defamation, Wrongful Termination, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Negligence, Conspiracy, Civil RICO violations and Fraud in relation to an ongoing dispute arising from Sunrise Hospital’s allegations of “intentional patient harm” against infant patients in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
On July 2, 2010, two-month old baby Miowne Obote died from complications stemming from a disrupted catheter line. Sunrise Hospital requested that the Las Vegas Metro Police Dept. investigate fourteen (14) incidents of disrupted catheters, and the subsequent police investigation has not led to any criminal charges being filed. The Clark County Coroner has admitted that his initial determination that the death was a homocide was not supported by any County Coroner investigation and instead he relied on the conclusion of the allegedly flawed analysis by an expert that Sunrise Hospital hired.
Subsequently, both Ms. Rice, and another NICU nurse were summarily suspended from nursing practice by the Nevada Board of Nursing. After an independent investigation, the Nevada Board of Nursing found no evidence of wrongdoing and reinstated both nurses’ licenses. (“Fired Sunrise nurse files suit,” Harasim 5/31/12, Las Vegas Review-Journal.)
Sunrise Hospital terminated the employment of both of nurses based on an alleged policy violation. The nurses’ union, (Service Employees International Union of Nevada; i.e., SEIU NV), filed a grievance against the hospital for wrongful termination. In December 2011, the Federal Arbitrator found in favor of Ms. Rice and issued an Order requiring Sunrise Hospital to reinstate Ms. Rice to her former position in the NICU and awarded her back pay. To date, Sunrise Hospital has refused to comply with the Arbitrator’s decision. The nurses’ union (SEIU) has filed a lawsuit in Federal Court seeking to enforce the Arbitrator’s decision.
The civil Complaint filed by Murphy Jones LLP on behalf of Ms. Rice on May 29, 2012, alleges that Sunrise Hospital was made aware of “at least thirteen (13) incidents involving intravenous catheter lines, in which the catheters became separated in two (2) of the incidents…interrupting the flow of fluids through the catheter. After two (2) catheter incidents resulted in harm or potential harm to infants in May 2010, Defendants intentionally, and/or with reckless disregard for the truth and/or negligently began a course of conduct that focused aggressively on employee Plaintiff Jessica Rice as the presumed suspect for the cause of the catheter incidents, labeled her as a ‘person of interest,’ terminated her from her employment without just cause, exposed her to public contempt, ridicule and disgrace and induced evil opinion of her.”
Tuesday, September 13th, 2011 4:25 pm
The California Board of Chiropractic Examiners has recently adopted Informed Consent requirements which compel chiropractors to obtain patients' consent after being fully informed of any potential risk of harm to the patient in relation to medical treatment. The new legislation takes effect on October 7, 2011, and will require informed consent both orally and in writing prior to the performance of chiropractic clinical care. Violation of the new law will constitute unprofessional conduct which will very likely lead to the Board of Chiropractic Examiners to initiate disciplinary proceedings against practitioners who fail to adhere to the requirements. (Dynamic Chiropractic, California Board of Chiropractic Examiners, 9/12/11)
Sunday, February 21st, 2010 1:20 pm
California Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi has publicly criticized the California Board of Pharmacy for supporting legislation that allegedly conflicts with the Board of Pharmacy’s duty to regulate pharmacy operations and it’s duty to protect the public. As healthcare attorneys who defend pharmacists in disciplinary investigations and proceedings before the Office of Administrative Hearings, we are very concerned and interested in preserving impartiality of the Board of Pharmacy during the development of legislation making it easier for the public to get flu shots.
The Board of Pharmacy is endowed with the power to regulate the profession, discipline pharmacists who violate their duties, and to protect the public. The legislation in question is designed to expand the ability of pharmacists, especially independent operators, to provide flu vaccinations to Californians. Assemblywoman Hayashi has publicly stated, “Their (the Board of Pharmacy) legislative actions on behalf of the profession they are supposed to regulate have raised questions about industry influence, which compromises their role as a regulator.” Assemblywoman Hayashi has introduced legislation, Assembly Bill 2104 (AB 2104), designed to require the California Board of Pharmacy to secure approval from the California Department of Consumer Affairs before sponsoring legislation.
Currently, none of the California Boards (Board of Medicine, Board of Registered Nursing, Board of Dental Examiners, Board of Occupational Therapy, Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians, Board of Chiropractic Examiners, etc.) are required to seek approval by the Dept. of Consumer Affairs prior to sponsoring legislation. Other lawmakers criticize Assemblywoman Hayashi”s AB 2104 for only focusing on the Board of Pharmacy. “What’s good for one board should be good for all the boards.” said Bob Stern, President of the Center for Governmental Studies.
Assemblywoman is a former member of the California Board of Registered Nursing, which opposed the flu vaccine legislation, Assembly Bill 977 (AB 977) in 2009. Many nurses are still worried about the procedures for providing flu vaccinations to the public. AB 977 passed the California State Assembly in January 2010 and is currently pending action in the California State Senate.
For a full account see: Sacramento Bee article
Review legislation at: California State Assembly legislative inquiry
Sunday, November 8th, 2009 12:38 pm
Aspiring nurses must complete fingerprinting with LiveScan, and the board must receive the results from the Dept. of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation which can take 3 – 6 weeks. As of August 10, 2009, the Board is no longer issuing interim or temporary licenses prior to the completion of the fingerprinting process. This process can be lengthy and should be prepared in advanced to ensure timely licensing and/or certification. If you need help with the licensing process, contact our attorneys for a consultation.
Wednesday, August 26th, 2009 5:23 pm
National Nurses United will be comprised of the merging of the 3 existing unions: Cal. Nurses Assoc., Massachusetts Nurses Assoc. and United American Nurses. The 3 unions, already powerhouses among legislative organization for nursing professionals, plan to combine forces and unite under the new National Nurses United (NNU) title. Each member union will hold a national convention to ratify the merger, and the NNU will hold its founding convention in December 2009.
Modern Health Care
Monday, August 24th, 2009 7:51 pm
Texas nurse downloaded entire computer hard drive (over 3,000 pages of patient files) after being fired because she told supervisors she was going to file written report about patient care violations. The Texas court of Appeals upheld her conduct under whistleblower laws, over objections based on medical confidentiality. Whistleblower laws not only permit but require nurses to report abuse, neglect and other illegal and wrongful acts.
Westlake Surgical vs. Turner, 2009 WL 2410276 (Tex. App., August 7, 2009).
Murphy Jones Law healthcare attorneys are interested in the development of Texas’ case-law relating to nurses’ duties to patients and their protection from liability for acts relating to protection of patient interests. Recently in Nevada nurses have continued to be disciplined for conduct similar to that in issue in the Westlake Surgical v. Turner. The judicial development may provide a basis for Nevada and California nurses, and other healthcare professionals, to protect their licenses in jeopardy of professional discipline for actions relating to “unauthorized removal of medical records.” We follow case law, and state legislation, closely to ensure efficient protection of our clients right to practice medicine.
Thursday, August 20th, 2009 6:25 pm
California Board of Nursing replacements were elected August 12, 2009, and discussed raising licensing fees in 2010 and addressing the backlog of disciplinary actions. New Board members meet with the committees today in Sacramento.
Nursing Licensure fees have not been altered for the past 18 years, and will be increased by almost 50%. The increase in fees is necessary to fund the 63 positions created to handle complaints and investigate disciplinary actions. Renewal rates will increase to $150 (+ an additional $10 for the RN Educational Fund), interim & temporary license fees will rise to $50, and initial fees for NPs, nurse midwives, CNAs and clinical nurse specialists will also cost $150. The Board moved to support the increase of fees and will set a public hearing date shortly. The soonest the Board could vote on the increased fee schedule is November 2009.
Gov. Schwarzenegger appointed Brian Stiger as the new director of the Dept. of Consumer Affairs. Stiger has ordered an internal review of the Cal. Board of Nursing disciplinary process, and reform is a top priority. Stiger’s goal is to streamline the process so that complaints are investigated, prosecuted and resolved within a 12 – 18 month timeframe.
Tuesday, August 18th, 2009 8:59 pm
When Gov. Schwarzenegger promised “sweeping changes” he failed to appreciate the amount of time it will require to overhaul the Cal. State Board of Nursing disciplinary process. Delays and inefficiencies in the disciplinary process, that healthcare attorneys at Murphy Jones LLP have been dealing with increasingly, are now becoming more apparent to the state legislature and analysts waiting for reform.
Julie Fellmeth, Admin. Director of the Center for Public Interest law, said, “For some reason, [the State Board of Nursing staff] seem to feel their system is just fine, that it just needs a little tweaking around the edges here and there…There needs to be a significant blowing up of the system.”
As administrative law attorneys who routinely interact with State Boards in both California and Nevada, Murphy Jones LLP lawyers are eager to see reform of the California State Board of Nursing disciplinary process. With some disciplinary actions taking in excess of thirty-six (36) months to resolve, we hope to see the discipline process adhere to the anticipated eighteen (18) month resolution time-frame goal.
To read the L.A. Times article visit: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-nursing-reform18-2009aug18,0,4778533.story
Thursday, August 13th, 2009 9:38 pm
South Dakota class action similar to Las Vegas endoscopy clinic suit. http://bit.ly/xNbS8. The recent Las Vegas endoscopy clinic practice of re-using syringe vials which led to a Hepatitis outbreak among patients has a sister personal injury medical malpractice legal action stemming from similar practices in a South Dakota facility.
The recency of the lawsuits make for interesting ongoing comparisons in the cases’ developments. The healthcare attorneys at Murphy Jones LLP will keep you informed as to the respective outcome in each matter, the similarities and differences in each states’ action, and the impact on local Nevada legislation and medical practices.
Tuesday, August 11th, 2009 8:35 pm
Aspiring nurses must complete fingerprinting with LiveScan, and the board must receive the results from the Dept. of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation which can take 3 – 6 weeks.
Wednesday, August 5th, 2009 10:33 pm
CMS reports that Scripps Memorial La Jolla and Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego, CA, boast the highest survival rates for pneumonia and heart failure patients. The data reflects info. gathered from patient discharges between July 2005 – June 2008.
ADVANCE article: http://nursing.advanceweb.com/Editorial/Content/Editorial.aspx?CC=203928
Full CMS Report: www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov.
Tuesday, July 28th, 2009 3:45 am
CMS published an announcement 7.20.09 describing regulatory changes that will impact standards for Medicare reimbursement starting 2010. The press release articulated the definition of “direct supervision” of an physician who is supervising nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists and/or certified nurse midwives as,”For services provided in the hospital, direct supervision means that the physician must be present in the hospital or on campus and immediately available to furnish assistance and direction throughout the performance of the procedure. For services furnished in an off-campus outpatient department, direct supervision means the physician must be present in the off-campus department and available to furnish assistance and direction throughout the performance of the procedure. In or out of the hospital, the physician need not be present in the room when the procedure is performed.” FEDERAL REGISTER July 20, 2009 Pgs. 35424 – 35425
Murphy Jones LLP healthcare attorneys stay informed of medical industry developments, such as this, which may affect a practitioner’s ability to successfully protect her license in disciplinary hearings before State Boards. Our administrative law practice incorporates information from all arena’s affecting the healthcare industry and our clients’ rights.
Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009 9:43 pm
Teamsters have filed an additional charge of Unfair Labor Practices with the National Labor Relations Board for alleged retaliatory conduct against employee Dale Slover, RN. Nurse Slover testified in May 2009 against the hospital and has filed a subsequent quality review report. See: http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2009/jul/04/teamsters-boulder-city-hospital-retaliated-/
Tuesday, July 21st, 2009 9:51 pm
Dr. Howard Dean wants to speak directly with nurses and doctors about the role they must play during this critical phase in new healthcare system legislative process. The conference, which is co-sponsored by the American Nurses Association, is intended to discuss elements of the House and Senate bills and how they will impact health care professionals.. Murphy Jones LLP healthcare attorneys will attend the tele-conference in effort to contribute to the development of legislation that furthers interests of the nursing profession. All nurses and people wanting to learn more about the actions each individual can take to make nurses’ needs a legislative and national priority are encouraged to attend and contribute.
The conference call will take place July 22, 2009, at 6:30 pm EST. In order to complete registration and review additional details related to the national conference call visit:
Sunday, July 19th, 2009 7:27 pm
Murphy Jones LLP has created a Twitter account generating tweets providing up to the minute news and developments relating to professional practice of medicine, the nursing profession, State Boards of Nursing, medical malpractice litigation impacting professionals’ rights and responsibilities, and other interesting legal developments in the healthcare industry. With our administrative law healthcare attorneys staying informed of trends, changes in the law and case precedent, we post information relevant to medical practitioners and the legal industry.
Visit us at http://twitter.com/NurseAttorneys , and start following today to keep informed about recent developments.
Thursday, May 14th, 2009 4:06 am
Did you know that in Nevada and California a first time criminal conviction for driving under the influence, or other misdemeanor, can lead to disciplinary action by the State Board of Nursing?
Both the State Boards of Nursing in Nevada and California may view a conviction of D.U.I., and certain other misdemeanors, as "unprofessional conduct" under each state's Nurse Practice Act. [Nev.: NRS 632.120, 632.320, NAC 632.890; Cal.: Bus. & Prof. Code 2761(f), et. al.]. Both Nevada and California have adopted regulations requiring nurses to submit fingerprints when applying for, or renewing, a nursing license. The State Boards are now receiving information regarding prior convictions of licensees. The Boards review matters on a case-by-case basis, and consider several factors when evaluating an appropriate course of action, including, but not limited to: the nature and severity of the act; the harm to public; the harm to patient; the prior criminal &/or disciplinary history; any time elapsed between convictions &/or Nurse Practice Act violations; any mitigating circumstances; and any, rehabilitation evidence.
Often times criminal attorneys, under a mistaken impression, instruct a nurse that he/she need not disclose misdemeanor convictions on their RN License/Renewal Application -- this is incorrect. Nevada and California require nurses to disclose all "criminal convictions" which include misdemeanors such as D.U.I. If a nurse is convicted of a misdemeanor and fails to disclose that on the License Application, the Board of Nursing may Deny or Revoke a license for fraudulent application. [N.R.S. 632.320; Cal.: Bus. & Prof. Code 2761(b)].
Other states have legal precedent indicating that a D.U.I. is not "unprofessional conduct relating to the practice of nursing" based on the particular facts of a nurse's situation, which may be utilized by an attorney to help protect a nurse's license after a conviction. [See: In the Matter of Charles S. Phillips, Docket No. 507-05-6929 [Texas]; Ross v. State Board of Nurse Examiners, Docket No. 507-06-0911 [Texas]. You should consult a nurse-attorney regarding the specific facts of your matter, and the laws of your state, to determine the best course of action for your particular situation.
What should a nurse who is convicted of a D.U.I., or other misdemeanor, do? Consult an attorney specializing in State Board of Registered Nurses licensing & disciplinary matters. Depending on the time, type and factual basis of a conviction, various options are available to the nurse. The worst thing a nurse can do is fail to disclose a criminal conviction and hope that the Board does not find out.