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An experienced nurse attorney has surely helped a lot of RNs and LVNs when it comes to cases that may lead to disciplinary action. Unfortunately, not all nurses were able to hire a nurse attorney as they underwent such cases. This incident that an RN committed on October 22, 2005, was one of those examples.

On or about October 22, 2005, the RN failed to document in the medical record her assessments and vital signs of a client after the client complained of headaches twice while attending a Special Olympics Event in Waco, Texas. The client complained of a headache early that morning, while at the hotel, and the client went back to sleep after the RN administered Tylenol.

Later that morning, the client participated in the first softball game. Later in the afternoon, however, the client complained of a second headache. The RN again administered Tylenol and decided that the client should sit out the second game. Because the client was wearing a heavy cotton uniform, she suggested that she should return to the hotel and change into cooler clothing; however, the client collapsed while the unlicensed staff was escorting her to the van.

Special Olympics EMS responded to the scene and the client was transported to an acute care facility where she expired several hours later after life support was discontinued. An autopsy determined that the cause of the client’s death was hypertrophic cardiomyopathy with cardiac arrest and cerebral anoxia. The RN’s conduct resulted in an incomplete medical record.

In response to the incidents, the RN states that the client was feeling better after the first Tylenol and played in the first softball game without incident. At about 1300, however, the client complained of a headache again prior to the start of the second game. She and two (2) unlicensed caregivers made the decision to have the client not participate in the game but the client wanted to stay and watch the game. The  RN asserts that she reassessed the client, including vital signs of blood pressure 125/78, pule 82, respirations 18, and temperature 99.6. The RN adds that the client was walking and talking without difficulty at this time. Because the client had on a heavy cotton uniform, the decision was made for the client to go back to the hotel room and change clothes. She states that she was going to remain at the field because one of the other clients participating in the second game was a diabetic and might have required Insulin and monitoring. While the unlicensed caregivers were walking the client to the van, the client collapsed and one of the caregivers ran to get the RN. The RN states that by the time she reached the client the Special Olympics EMS unit were already there and were bagging the client. She adds that the client had a carotid and radial pulse at this time.

The following incident and defense against the case caused the Texas Board of Nursing to place the RN and her license into disciplinary proceedings. She would have sought assistance from a good nurse attorney to provide clarifications towards the case.

If you’ve ever done any errors during your shift as an RN or LVN, and you wish to preserve your career and your license, an experienced nurse attorney is what you need. Nurse Attorney Yong J. An, an experienced nurse lawyer for various licensing cases for 14 years, can assist you by contacting him at (832) 428-5679.