RN Wrongly Halts CPR on Nursing Home Resident

A registered nurse with a history of disciplinary actions wrongly ordered a halt to CPR on a dying resident at a nursing home in an incident last December, state officials said Tuesday.

"She is dead," the nurse told a fellow staff member soon after he began applying chest compressions on the resident, according to a state Health Department report recently released. The staffer nevertheless kept up resuscitation efforts until the nurse raised her voice and repeated her command, the report said.

The resident, in her 80s and suffering from breast cancer and breathing abnormalities, was dead before emergency responders could take over. On arriving at the home they questioned why CPR was stopped, the report said.
The nurse, who was not identified in the report, was fired, the nursing home said in a statement issued Tuesday.

The nurse's personnel file, included in the report, shows that she had been cited for needing to improve her job knowledge, professionalism and relationships with subordinates, residents and families. A doctor filed a formal complaint against her in 2007 for "improper conduct" and in 2009 she was disciplined for failing to follow wound-management protocol.

Until late last year, the nursing home was on the federal government's list of about 200 nursing homes that get closer scrutiny, including semiannual inspections, because of a history of regulatory problems. Inspectors found 23 rule infractions in the home's annual inspection in April 2008; that was down to the state average of nine a year later. For more, read the story.

Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights ofthe victims of nursing homeandassisted living neglectand abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville,Charlottesville, and across Virginia. 

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