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As a healthcare professional, prompt and effective intervention during critical situations is essential, especially when dealing with patients who require constant respiratory support. The incident involving an RN’s failure to appropriately respond to a patient’s declining oxygenation levels and inability to troubleshoot a disconnected ventilator underscores potential harm to the patient. In such challenging circumstances, a nurse attorney becomes an indispensable ally for RNs. The nurse attorney can meticulously examine the circumstances, evaluate the facility’s protocols, and construct a robust defense strategy. Their role extends beyond legal representation; they act as advocates for the nurse, ensuring fair treatment and due process.

At the time of the initial incident, she was employed as an RN with a home healthcare services provider in Bryan, Texas, and had been in that position for two (2) years and six (6) months.

On or about August 7, 2021, while employed as an RN with a home healthcare services provider in Bryan, Texas, the RN failed to appropriately intervene when the patient had declining oxygenation saturations down to twenty-eight (28) percent. Specifically, the RN was unable to troubleshoot the disconnected ventilator and did not ventilate the patient via bag valve mask as needed. Additionally, the RN incorrectly documented that emergency equipment, including oxygen tanks and bag valve masks, was checked at the start of her shift and that the equipment was readily available for use and in working condition. The patient was not manually ventilated until the patient’s mother arrived, located the correct bag valve mask, and called 911 for the patient to be transported to the hospital. RN’s conduct was likely to injure the patient from a lack of required respiratory support.

Without consulting with an experienced nurse attorney, the RN responded and stated that around 0850 on the date in question, she was preparing the patient’s feeding bag, and the alarms began to sound. The RN stated that she started looking for the source of the issue but was unable to find a reason for the alarms. The RN stated that the patient’s oxygen saturation was 94%, and the vital signs, including heart rate, were stable. She again checked the equipment for any possible leaks that may have been impacting the patient’s full oxygenation saturation when the RN stated she saw that the tube to the heater was broken, causing the equipment to malfunction. The patient’s mother had recently changed the equipment during the week. The RN stated that she showed the mother the broken tube and the mother tried to look for a replacement tube but was also unable to find one. RN stated that the mother found the right size Ambu bag and began ventilating the patient. The patient’s oxygen saturation went from 26% to 86% in less than one minute. She also mentioned that the mother found a new tube and changed it. The RN reported that they attached the patient to the equipment that was functioning correctly once again, and the patient responded as his oxygenation rose to 92-94 percent. The mother then called the paramedics. The RN and the paramedics both checked the patient and found that he was reacting well, but the mother insisted on taking him to the hospital.

In accordance with Section 301.452(b)(10)&(13) of the Texas Occupations Code, the above action constitutes grounds for disciplinary action. Following the board’s investigation, she was found guilty of her misconduct. The allegation was fatal to the RN’s ability to perform a healthcare professional’s essential functions and duties. Sad to say, the nurse attorney who handled her case was not able to properly defend her interests and rights before the Board. The Texas Board of Nursing (BON) then found her guilty of the offense alleged in the complaint and decided to place her RN license under disciplinary action.

If you also received a letter from the Texas Board of Nursing regarding a case or complaint filed against you, you should immediately hire a nurse attorney. Texas Nurse Attorney Yong J. An has a deep understanding of the complexities of healthcare law and has successfully represented numerous nurses facing different legal challenges. His expertise extends to areas such as licensure defense, disciplinary actions, and regulatory compliance. Known for his compassionate approach and dedication to his client’s well-being, Mr. An is committed to providing high-quality legal representation tailored to the unique needs of each case. You may contact him 24/7 at (832) 428-5679 for more information or if you want to schedule a private consultation.