Posts Tagged ‘crime’

No smart or decent nurse would think of doing such a thing.. yet these two RNs were arrested for it

Posted in Nursing News

Illustration: Stop signIf you were forced to choose one thing you should never, ever do, as a nurse, using your smartphone to snap pictures of patients’ private parts would probably be right up there in the list. If you would even come up with such a thought, that is. And yet it keeps happening! At least twice this last couple of months, a Registered Nurse made the news over exactly this.

Last March, the media reported on the case of a 27-year-old former nurse from Fulton, N.Y., who surrendered her nursing licence and declined to contest a charge of moral unfitness in the practice. She’d been arrested last year after using her iPhone to take a picture of an unconscious male patient’s penis.

The nurse, Kristen A. Johnson, also videotaped how another nurse cleaned an unconscious female patient’s gastrointestinal blood clot. The other nurse “told police that Johnson pointed her phone at her while she was cleaning the blood,” the Syracuse Post-Standard reported. The District Attorney’s Office started an investigation after the nurse’s co-workers at Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse, N.Y., complained that she’d texted them images of both patients. The investigators later found the video and the photo back on Johnson’s laptop.

Photo: Kristen Johnson

Kristen Johnson, arrested for having photographed intimate parts of unconscious patients (Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office)

At the time, Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick released a statement saying that “despite what certain people seem to think, it is a crime in the state of New York to view, broadcast or record images of another person’s intimate body parts, surreptitiously”.

Johnson lost her job and was initially charged with two counts of felony second-degree unlawful surveillance and one count of misdemeanor second-degree disseminating of unlawful surveillance images. In a plea deal later last year, she pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count that covers all of the charges, a follow-up story by the Syracuse Post-Standard reported, and in exchange the felony charges were reduced. She was required to give up her nursing license, and placed on probation for three years.

If none of that was creepy enough, police elsewhere in New York state, on Long Island, arrested a registered nurse at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip last month for photographing a teenage female patient’s “intimate parts”, News 12 Long Island reported. The nurse, 35-year-old Nick Petrella, stands accused of taking several photos of the patient while she was unconscious in the emergency room, receiving care for alcohol intoxication, according to ABC 7 New York.

Petrella had worked at the hospital for the last eight years, and his attorney said he was “highly honored and respected” as a nurse and had no past criminal record. He was arraigned on felony unlawful surveillance charges on May 27, but pleaded not guilty, and the judge “set cash bail at $7,500 and bond at $15,000.”

A common thread in both cases is that the police acted after a fellow nurse took action. In Petrella’s case, “another staff member of the hospital that observed Mr. Petrella, notified the charge nurse that was on duty, and the hospital ultimately advised us of it,” News 12 Long Island quoted Detective Sgt. John Diffley. If you see a colleague doing harm, do not hesitate to let someone know.

Should Mistakes by Nurses Be Crimes?

Posted in Nursing, Nursing Jobs

Healthcare systems typically aspire to a non-punitive atmosphere to manage any mistakes the nursing staff might make. Mistakes are documented and graded on the basis of harm or potential harm to the patient. Management usually feels that this approach encourages reporting of mistakes, which then spawns new methods of error prevention.

On the legal side, however, there is a movement to criminalize mistakes made by nurses. Healthcare systems feel this trend will result in an individual believing it’s more advantageous to protect self-interests, such as a nursing license and a job, than to report errors.

Nursing home controller admits taking $600,000

Posted in Nursing, Nursing Home, Nursing News, Uncategorized

A Canonsburg woman who served as the financial controller for two nursing homes admitted today to embezzling more than $600,000 from them.

Gayle Phillips-Smith, 48, pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement from a health care benefit program and to one count of tax evasion.

According to the U.S. attorney’s office, Ms. Phillips-Smith served as the financial controller at Baldock Health Care Center in North Huntingdon, and Humbert Lane Nursing and Rehabilitation in Washington, from 2001 to 2005.

Read more in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.