RN Wins Dismissal of Accusation Alleging Failure to Follow Orders by Doctor

A California hospital terminated a group of ICU nurses. The nurses believe it was a cost cutting measure by a new manager. The hospital claims that a narcotics audit revealed improprieties regarding the administration of narcotics. The hospital terminated the nurses and reported them to the Board of Registered Nursing. We represented one of the nurses.

The Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) charged our client with administering Propofol, Fentanyl, and Dilaudid in excess of a physician's order and failing to document the administration of Vicodin.  The BRN accused our client of Gross Negligence, Incompetence and Unprofessional Conduct.  We tried the case in a three-day administrative hearing at the Office of Administrative Hearings in Oakland because our client is innocent.  The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) ruled in favor of our client that the BRN failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the RN's care was unprofessional, incompetent or grossly negligent.

We were able to show that our client was innocent by discrediting the Board's expert and presenting testimony from our own nursing expert that our client did an excellent job in the ICU. The Board's expert was a manager who had not practiced in an ICU for many years. She had never even titrated a Propofol drip. We subpoenaed Pyxis records directly from the hospital and pieced together the true story through Pyxis entries, MARs, flowsheets and nursing notes. Our own expert helped tell the true story from the perspective of a real ICU nurse.

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