Temporary Medical Staffing Agency Fails to Adequately Screen Malicious Employee

Michael Morgenstern

Written by
— Updated on October 12, 2017

nurse syringeThis case takes place in Maine and involves a traveling nurse who was employed by various temporary staffing agencies that placed her in contact with different facilities across the country caring for severely ill patients. During a 12-month period of employment, she was harboring the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). The nurse worked as a radiologic technician with duties of staffing the cardiac catheterization laboratory. Prior to this employment, she was fired from another employer for stealing narcotic pain medication. The defendant hiring company was informed yet approved her for employment. Subsequently, the nurse tested positive for HIV and failed to take the proper safety precautions while placing IV’s and drawing blood from patients which resulted the direct transmission of the virus to several patients. The hospital in question continued to employ this individual with prior knowledge of her conduct and the detrimental effect to the health and well being of the patients was evident.

 

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. What are the safety protocols for preventing unauthorized use of medication and who holds that responsibility?
  • 2. How do you classify an employee as a drug seeking individual?

Expert Witness Response E-008840

I have experience working in and managing hospital pharmacy systems and expertise in the standards for medication storage policies to ensure the safety and proper placement of drugs like Fentanyl. More specifically, I ran the pharmacy in an inpatient facility and served as Operations Manager of a Houston based hospital pharmacy. Most of my consulting work focuses on medication storage and safety for exactly this sort of scenario. There are several federal and state regulations that have storage and inventory requirements for controlled substances. The medical center will have a policy and certain procedures of storage and safety of controlled substances as well. And if the hospital and pharmacy did not enforce their own procedures, then these issues can occur. Along with that, if the medical center’s procedure did not reach the standards of state and federal regulations, these issues can also occur as well. Nurses can enter these storage centers by entering a code or swiping in, but the nurse has to log each time they use the medication. I have been involved both as a consultant and in my professional career where drugs have been illegally used and stolen and all have been handled appropriately.

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