In relation to other problems the same day, the baby was subjected to a lumbar puncture, which required six painful attempts. To avoid inflicting further pain, nurse two asked the nurse practitioner whether there was another route available for the administration of the penicillin. Nurse two and the nurse practitioner searched recognized pharmacology references and determined that intravenous administration would be acceptable. The nurse practitioner had the authority to change the route and directed nurse two to administer the medication intravenously rather than intramuscularly. Unrecognized by the nurses, the pharmacy erroneously delivered the medication, prepared and ready to administer, in a dose ten times greater than was ordered—1.5 million units. As nurse two was administering the medication intravenously, the baby died. The Colorado Board of Nursing initiated disciplinary proceedings against nurse two and the nurse practitioner, but not against nurse one. The grand jury indicted all three nurses on charges of criminally negligent homicide but did not indict the pharmacist (Calfee & Plum, 1997).
Respond to the following:
- Identify and explain what emotions evoke on you the Colorado Board of Nursing case stated above
- Should the courts take into consideration the fact that the nurses’ error occurred because they wanted to avoid causing the baby unnecessary pain? Discuss your thinking.
- Identify and provide examples of other occupations in which the consequences of unintentional errors have greater legal implications.
- Explain how the nursing profession should respond to this frightening new legal threat.
- Identify and describe the sections of the State Nurse Practice Act that the nurses violated in this case.
- Reference: Calfee, B. E, & Plum, S. D. (1997). Nurses indicted: Three Denver nurses face prison in a case that bodes ill for the profession. Retrieved from http://business.highbeam.com/4397/article-1G1-19588498/nurses-indicted-three-denver-nurses-face-prison-case