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The ethical and lawful handling of patient information and medical equipment is foundational to nursing practice, ensuring the integrity of patient care, and maintaining trust within the healthcare system. The incident involving an RN, who mistakenly pulled a Patient Controlled Analgesia (PCA) key for an unassigned patient and accessed the medical records of multiple patients without authorization, highlights the potential repercussions of lapses in professional conduct. When RNs face such allegations, a nurse attorney becomes an indispensable ally. A nurse attorney plays a pivotal role in understanding the legal implications of such allegations and devising a strategic defense for the nurse involved. 

At the time of the incident, she was employed as an RN at a hospital in Arlington, Texas, and had been in that position for two (2) months.

On or about October 18, 2021, while employed as an RN at a hospital in Arlington, Texas, RN was accused of the following:

  1. RN pulled a Patient Controlled Analgesia (PCA) key for a patient, who was not assigned to RN’s care. Subsequently, when staff confronted RN about the situation, RN initially denied pulling the key but later admitted to pulling the key by mistake. RN’s conduct exposed the patient to unnecessary risk of harm by accessing a PCA key for a patient not under RN’s care and without authorization.  
  2. RN accessed the medical records of fifteen (15) patients who were not assigned to her care without authorization or medical necessity. RN’s conduct exposed the patients unnecessarily to a risk of harm from use, accessing or disclosure of their confidential medical information without their written authorization and placed the facility in violation of HIPAA (The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).

In response to the above incidents, without consulting a nurse attorney, RN deliberately states she did not realize she was not permitted to access the 15 patient charts and did so out of curiosity with the patients’ diagnosis and a desire to educate herself. RN admits to inadvertently pulling the PCA key for a patient not assigned to her.

The above action constitutes grounds for disciplinary action in accordance with Section 301.452(b)(10)&(13) Texas Occupations Code, and is a violation of 22 TEX ADMIN. CODE §217.11(1)(A),(1)(B),(1)(C),(1)(D),(1)(E)&(1)(G) and 22 TEX. ADMIN. CODE §217.12 (1)(A),(1)(B),(1)(C)&(4).

Unfortunately, she failed to hire a skilled Texas nurse attorney to fully defend her case. The Texas Board of Nursing found her guilty of her deeds and her RN license was subjected to disciplinary action. 

Do you have questions about the Texas Board of Nursing disciplinary process? Contact The Law Office of Texas Nurse Attorney Yong J. An for a confidential consultation by calling or texting 24/7 at (832) 428-5679. Texas Nurse Attorney Yong J. An is an experienced nurse attorney who represented more than 500 nurse cases for RNs and LVNs for the past 17 years.