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Nurse Fired After She Reported Hospital’s Safety Violations

Posted on Jun 25, 2013

Many of our clients say the first step to start investigating a medical malpractice case is the hardest. It’s difficult to believe that hospitals and doctors could be wrong but the unfortunate truth is that hospitals and doctors sometimes break the rules and that can endanger their patients. And there are times when hospitals try to cover it up.

Here’s a story about a nurse who found and reported problems with patient care and was allegedly fired after she reported the substandard care of the hospital’s trauma program that endangered patients.

Shortly after Ms. Saundra White was hired as the trauma program coordinator for United Hospital in St. Paul, she started to become aware of the deficiencies in the hospital’s trauma program. This included the deaths of patients who were not seen by a surgeon in a timely manner. She reported her concerns to hospital officials about the substandard care and violation of criteria for Level III trauma hospital designation but they dismissed these concerns, claiming it was just a “cultural issue” and that it was “like this everywhere.”

“There was no accountability. There was no discussion,” Ms. White said in an interview. According to Ms. White, trauma patients weren’t getting proper care and they died because of that. After reporting to hospital management and state officials about the violations of the state’s criteria for the Level III trauma hospital designation, Ms. White was allegedly fired.

She filed a lawsuit against Allina Health System, United Hospital’s owner, claiming she was fired after submitting these reports about the hospital’s safety violations. According to the lawsuit, United’s trauma program “violated recognized standards of care that placed the public at risk of harm.”

Read the full article from the St. Paul Pioneer-Press here

Any time a patient is seriously injured or dies as a result of medical treatment, a hospital stay or surgical procedure, especially if they were healthy or there is no real explanation for the outcome, it should be investigated.

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