Hospital Hires Temporary Nurse With Criminal Record

    EmploymentThis case takes place in Kansas and involves a registered nurse who had been placed in multiple jobs through a temporary staffing agency despite a record of negligent and dangerous conduct. The nurse had worked for a number of hospitals and outpatient medical facilities over the course of several years, during which time the staffing agency received multiple complaints about her behavior. During her time with the staffing agency, the nurse was employed at a major university medical center, which fired her after discovering that she had stolen oxycodone and syringes of another opioid pain killer. While the staffing agency was made aware of this incident, it continued to work with the nurse, and placed her in a new position with the Defendant facility. It was during her employment at this facility that the nurse tested positive for a bloodborne viral disease. While she was employed by the Defendant facility, the nurse’s drug-seeking behavior, combined with her positive status for a viral infection, led to several patients becoming infected by the same disease due to the patient’s negligent handling of needles. It is alleged that the Defendant facility was aware of the nurse’s history of drug abuse and negligence but continued to employ her, directly leading to the infection of multiple patients.

    Question(s) For Expert Witness

    • 1. Do you or have you outsourced your staff recruiting to an agency?
    • 2. Does a hospital have the responsibility to make sure that the hires are qualified with no criminal background?

    Expert Witness Response E-000468

    I have managed multiple human service and health care facilities where nursing staffing requirements were met through the use of a staffing agency. The facility retains the responsibility for the quality of care provided to patients by facility employees and agency nurses. Additionally, the facility must confirm that each temporary employee has valid and appropriate licensing, positive references, a lack of professional sanctions, and a clean criminal background check. It appears the hiring facility was negligent in the employee screening and selection process. Furthermore, it appears that the facility failed to provided the necessary level of supervision such that unsafe nursing procedures were illuminated, failed to have in place a risk management system designed to bring unsafe nursing practices to the attention of professional nursing staff, and failed in a number of areas directly related to patient safety and the standard of good care. The individual and organizational failures that allowed the transmission of a disease(s) to unsuspecting individuals were so egregious as to constitute individual and organizational neglect and malpractice.

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