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Any cases that may compromise the career of a nurse can be defended properly by a nurse attorney should the nurse provides a good reason. This is a matter that should be defended properly, especially if the RN or LVN values their career. If the nurse attorney is more experienced, the better defense the nurse may receive.

On or about January  24,  2017,  while employed as an RN in a medical center in Texas, the RN inappropriately accessed the medical record of a patient using the Physician Assistant’s credentials and falsified a discharge order and discharge instructions without the Physician Assistant’s knowledge. The RN then discharged the patient from the ED while the patient’s laboratory results were still pending.

Subsequently, the patient’s laboratory results were received after the patient was discharged, and revealed the patient was pregnant.  The RN’s conduct was deceptive and exposed the patient and the fetus unnecessarily to a risk of harm in that the patient had a history of substance abuse and mental illness and may have engaged in high-risk behavior without knowing she was pregnant.

The RN defends herself by stating she was familiar with the patient, as she had treated the patient in the ED before.  She states the patient had a history of multiple ED visits for various psychiatric needs, as well as a history of Bipolar Disorder with a strong borderline personality disorder.  The RN further states she was acting as Charge Nurse on the date of the incident, and the patient became agitated and aggressive when ED staff members were unable to send the patient to an inpatient rehabilitation facility as the patient requested.

She states the patient’s behavior became a disruption to the department and started to impede the care of other patients. The RN stated she and the social worker, who had discussed the discharge plan with the Physician Assistant, felt it was necessary to expedite the patient’s discharge for the safety of the staff and other patients.  She states she attempted to find the Physician Assistant to discuss discharge but was unsuccessful.   She states she noticed the Physician Assistant had left her computer open to the patient’s record and was in the process of drafting a discharge note, so she accessed the patient’s record using the Physician Assistant’s credentials and printed the final discharge instructions.

The RN stated she was unaware of the patient’s pending laboratory results at the time.   She states the patient’s pregnancy was identified “within minutes” of discharge and the patient was immediately notified by telephone and followed up within writing. The RN states the patient called back the following morning to discuss the pregnancy. She tells she regrets practicing outside the scope of her practice by accessing the patient’s electronic record under another person’s credentials.

The events led to the decision of the Board of Nursing to suspend and discipline her RN license. The instances of misconduct can be defended further should the RN hire a skilled nurse attorney. For a private consultation, you may contact Nurse Attorney Yong J. An by dialing him at (832) 428-5679