Lawsuit: Nurse who died in car wreck was ‘worked to death’

Posted on: 1:13 pm, November 13, 2013, by , updated on: 02:06pm, November 13, 2013

Beth Jasper's vehicle was heavily damaged in a car wreck that took her life in Cincinnati, Ohio on March 16, 2013. (Photo: CNN / WCPO)

Beth Jasper's vehicle was heavily damaged in a car wreck that took her life in Cincinnati, Ohio on March 16, 2013. (Photo: CNN / WCPO)

CINCINNATI, Ohio — An Ohio man whose wife died in a car accident earlier this year is suing the hospital where she was a nurse, claiming she was “worked to death,” and that the hospital knew about it.

Jim Jasper’s wife, Beth, was killed on March 16 while driving home after a 12-hour shift.

The wrongful death lawsuit, filed last week, alleges that from 2011 to the time of her death, Beth Jasper’s unit at the Jewish Hospital in Cincinnati was “regularly understaffed,” causing some nurses, including Jasper, to work through breaks and pick up additional shifts.

Additionally, Jasper was routinely called into work while off duty because she was one of the few nurses qualified to work the unit’s dialysis machines, according to the suit.

“It needs to change. These nurses cannot be treated this way,” Jim Jasper told CNN affiliate WCPO, referring to the conditions he says led to his wife’s death. “They can’t continue to work these nurses and expect them to pick up the slack because they don’t want to staff the hospitals.”

Staff shortages and overextended shifts for nurses are a nationwide issue, according to National Nurses United, the nation’s largest union representing registered nurses, with nearly 185,000 members throughout the country. But wrongful death litigation stemming from staffing issues is unusual.

“Chronic understaffing is rampant throughout hospitals around the country,” said Bonnie Castillo, the union’s government relations director. “It is probably the single biggest issue facing nurses nowadays, and it’s not only affecting nurses, but patient health as well.”

Jim Jasper’s attorney, Eric Deters, said Beth Jasper may have fallen asleep before her car veered off the road, jumped an embankment and struck a tree. During her final shift, according to the lawsuit, Beth Jasper told other nurses she was “really stressed” and “hadn’t eaten.”

The lawsuit alleges that fatigue from being overworked contributed to the death of the 38-year-old mother of two.

“This is just a tragic situation,” Deters said Tuesday. “The hospital clearly did not take care of its own people, and it did so deliberately.”

Jasper’s lawsuit claims that hospital staffers, including his wife’s supervisor, were aware of the staffing problems and alerted the hospital’s parent company, Mercy Health Group. Her supervisor expressed concern to superiors that Beth Jasper was being “worked to death,” yet the hospital did nothing to deal with the staffing issue, the suit said.

Nanette Bentley, a spokeswoman for Mercy Health Group, expressed sympathy for the family, but declined to comment on pending litigation.

Castillo, the union representative, said “safe staffing ratios” of nurses to patients remain largely unregulated in the United States.

California is the only state with safe staffing ratio laws, Castillo said. The law requires nurses on general medical or surgical floors to care for no more than five patients at a time, and nurses in intensive care units to care for no more than two. The law has been in effect since 2004.

The union has pushed for safe staffing legislation around the country.

™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

56 comments

  • Another lazy oaf looking for a handout….

  • Wolfer says:

    Yes, Greg, its confirmed. You truly are an idiot. Even dumber than a rock. And thats really dumb.

  • Jenny Lange says:

    Umm the last time I checked this is America and she was free to quit her job look for her job and find a different one. Another pathetic lawsuit.

  • Jenny Lange says:

    Correction – “Free to quit her job and find a different one.”

  • liz says:

    Hey jenny, try working as a nurse then talk.

  • Michelle Bell says:

    I have to agree. I was hired to work “part time” at a hospital. In the 9 months that I worked there I never worked less than 40 hours a week. I would work 12 -15 hour shifts & earned no benefits. By the time I would get home eat dinner, settled down enough to fall asleep it was time for the alarm to go off which was 3:00 a.m. I finally had it because I was so tired, my family suffered because I could not function.

  • A nurse says:

    Unless you are a nurse or have a spouse/friend that works as a nurse you have no basis for comment. As nurses we work hard through very long hours to care for your family. We don’t get lunch breaks and much less bathroom breaks. This guy isn’t looking for a handout…he is looking for reform. He understands that even when a nurse gets home he or she still gets multiple calls at any and all hours of the night and day asking for more help in the hospital. So offer condolences and appreciation to this family and keep the negative comments to yourself. And then see what the mercy system gives to this guy because they know he is right.

  • nancy says:

    My daughter is an RN and they have the same problem. Anyone who thinks it isn’t a problem should follow nurses around for their 12-15 hour shift. If this man can win a lawsuit and change the patient to staff ratio across the nation for nurses, so be it… let him get $millions. I’m sure he would rather have his wife.

  • Reta says:

    I hope he wins the lawsuit and set the standards for all to follow…

  • michelle leasure says:

    To Jenny, If she quit her job, she would just go to another one that had the same staffing issues, this is not unique. Obviously you are not a nurse and have no idea what it’s like out there in the medical world. Besides, when you start declining to come in or work the mandation, you will be fired. This woman was trying to support her family and died trying.

  • thebunkis says:

    Geez….all these friggin’ nurses commenting on here as if they’re the only people who works hard through very long hours. Gimme a break….You’re job isn’t nearly the death-trap that you make it out to be. Nearly every other profession out there is plagued with long hours and hard work.

  • Ireane says:

    I hope he wins the lawsuit! Her husband is seeking reform and myself having a nursing background I can attest to the long shifts BUT the DON never wanted to pay out for staffing agencies to fill in. We went through the same thing and I vividly recall coming home exhausted.

  • kyle says:

    Are nurses some kind of hospital Special Forces or something? The Navy SEALS of healthcare? You would think so listening to them talk about “how tough their job is” and “those long hours without eating or peeing”. “You just wouldn’t know!!! I’m a nurse!!! You have no idea what nurses go through BLAH BLAH BLAH!!! NO idea Wahhhhhhhh!”

    Newsflash!: You aren’t part of some sort of elite profession exclusive to the sharpest, brightest, or bravest. You think police officers or firemen have it easy? Doctors? Crab fishermen?

    Just shut up and do what the doctor tells you to do.

  • Chef2rn says:

    Tell that to the nurse the next time she is taking care of you or a loved one after an 11 hour shift in the Critical Care unit. I actually do work with nurses who are brilliant, courageous, and compassionate. In fact not one of us would hold your statement against you if you were in our care, because our professionalism and ethics are nonpareil. I think the appropriate response is, “My condolences; thank you for your hard work; keep fighting for safe working conditions and patient safety.”

  • ps to the Nurses family. God bless you. I hope your lawsuit brings Americans to realze that Nurses save their lives . God Bless you & your sacrafic.

  • Nurses are educated , compassionate people. they give their all in caring for their patients. they are overworked, underappreciated, underpaid, under appreciated. we are college graduates. we work hard to care for our patients. we follow orders whe we know they are correct. to Kyle, you are an idiot. You know nothing about what we dol I am an RN, BSN and have worked many long & tireing shifts. Yes, we are among the sharpest , bravest, & brightest, I hope you receive good care when U are in the hospital. I hope the man who is initiating the lawsuit wins & awakens America to the plight of nurses in the country. Hospitals are owned by corporations who want money not good paitient care.
    YOu Kyle, shut up, and make remarks about what you know about. You are obviously ignorant about what nurses do.

  • And all of you who degrade Nuses are too stupid to know what nurses do , how well they are educated & how hard they work to save YOUR life, Nurses are the mainstay of the hospital. Overworked, underpaid, underappreciatedl COLLEGE educated who are abuse by people like Kyle, who thinks he knows it all. You are so stupid you naveno right to make a comment about nursing & Nurses. it is people like you, stupid, who receive unselfish, giving , care from Nurses.
    try going to school, college, if you are capapble , & see what Nursing is like, it is my life and could be yours too. We save more lives than the physicians do. You may need a nurse some day. I hope you dont. But if you do, you will receive better care than you deserve.

  • to Jenny who also made a stupid comment, you try to find a job , All nurses work under the samd conditions. She could have quit her job, lost her benefits, if she had any & jumped into anothe one just as degraging to her COllege education. To work for another corporation who owns another hospital that is only in her slave labor and filling their pockets with money the corporations dont deserve. No different than congress, the president, & most of the crooks in DC who steal from us as do large corporationsm the same as hospitals do. Jenny you are stupid. To Bunkus you are an equally uneducated idiot as is Kyle.
    Hope none of U have to enter a hospital. i dont want to care for you unappreiative jerks who have no knowledge of the sacrafices Nurses make for you the undedeserving,

  • Elisa Spremo says:

    The next time any one of you needs a nurse and cannot get one, then talk. I am a healthcare worker. As healthcare workers, we are taught that the patient comes first. The workloads are rediculous & often times dangerous. This is just as stressful as any other job, but if the healthcare worker messes up, it can cost a patient their health or life. Sometimes doctors do not know what to do for a particular patient and they ask the nurse what is going on because they are the ones who are closes to the patient’s situation. Nurses advocate and fight for their patients, that means you! I am not a nurse, I am a respiratory therapist. I have worked with many nurses and as a occasional patient, I am glad to know that when sick, I have a nurse to advocate for me!

  • An equally overworked nurse says:

    I am a registers nurse who works many long hours as well. We as nurses do not need praise, in fact we hardly ever recieve a kind word from administration( who btw are usually nonmedically trained individuals!) We care for people because that’s what we were called to do. We often stay late and are continuously called on days off to pick up extra shifts. In fact, yearly evals often comment on how we do or don’t come in extra when needed. We are degraded by physicians and families on a daily basis. Yet we get up everyday to come back and care for you, your children, family and friends when they are in need. To those commenting that ours is the only profession with long hours, or dangerous working conditions, I say this: if I’m tired and overworked and stressed about having a million things to get done, I can inadvertently make a mistake. A mistake I might add that may very well be lethal. Death is final. You don’t get to start over the next day to try and fix it. I hope it’s not somebody you live if it ever happens! So please do not speak if things you no NOTHING about unless you have walked a 12-15 hr shift in our shoes.

  • Health care workers work too many hours consecutively,therefore putting all patients at risk! As truck drivers,bus drivers, and others who hold humane lives in there hands, can only work a certain no. of hours without rest, so should it be against the law for nurses, doctors,and all health care workers to work such long hours without rest!

  • Kathi says:

    Federal law doesn’t let truck drivers work more than 10 hour shifts, and that only after they’ve had 8 consecutive hours off. Why? Because being deprived of sleep could cause an accident that hurts other people. But, for some reason, people think it’s ok to let nurses work 12 – 15 hours without a break? I guess that’s because when you’re a nurse, you don’t have to make decisions that might harm others.

  • NURSE says:

    Wow is all I have to say! I am a nurse, and a dedicated nurse at that. Yes, we do work long hours for little praise. We give extra all the time, and yes, many days we go without breaks either for bathroom breaks or for eating. Many of you are right, we do not have dangerous jobs like a fireman or a policeman … but all should know that we are brave women and men who save lives everyday and should be appreciated for all that we do. Nurses work overtime all the time, not for the money but to help those in need. We CAN not leave our patients unattended and care about our fellow employees so that they do not have to work short. Bottom line is … there is a need for changes and if this law suit helps, by all means …. good luck! My sympathy for the family of the dedicated nurse that lost her life… may she be looking over other nurses and guiding them in the care they provide and being their angel as they leave after working 12-16 hours shifts …. God Bless all the nurses and know that I appreciate all that you do!

  • flesher06 says:

    Its so funny as I’m reading this everyone that’s making neg. Comments are probably mcdonalds workers. Not everyone can do the job we do deal with the day to day stresses of the job. We take care of ppl 24/7 this one of the most stressful jobs, but that’s why there are a handful that could actually do this job. Could u deal with losing someone unexpected no I don’t think so could u deal with an x amount of ppl with different things wrong with them no I don’t think so. Could u hold it together while trying to help a grieving family no I don’t think so. So, next time you want to post something so unhuman just remember we will be the ones taking care of u we will be the ones to give u help. Just remember that.

  • Devon says:

    Ok, going to try and make this short….. I’m not going to say the company name for security reasons, but it’s a fast food restaurant and they’ve been making me stand outside 3 days a week, for 2 hours with no break the whole time to come in and cool down, I do have water but if I want more I have to hurry and run in to get it myself, no one checks to make sure i’m ok when i’m out there which I have talked to my employer about saying I can’t handle the mid-summer heat (I live in Florida, it’s 97 degrees outside on average in the summer) and they won’t take me off of it or let me switch off with other people… Today my body had it I have water out there and I try my best to stay hydrated but I had to run inside because I blacked out I was sweating profusely my breathing was heavy i almost puked all over the place and no one came over to me to see if I was still conscious so I called my mom who is a nurse and she had to call the manager to tell her to get me water and put ice on my neck, which is totally uncalled for… they should know what to do and my mom told them to call 911 so they did and when I got IV fluids I felt better, it was severe heat exhaustion which they apparently don’t think is a big deal and people have died from it… Now they are talking about at work who they can put out there tomorrow and from now on because they obviously didn’t learn their lesson and they are saying my mom overreacted and that an ambulance shouldn’t have been called when I could have been passed out and they wouldn’t have known because my head was down. It’s cruelty in my opinion to make an employee stand outside with car fumes on black pavement. I am a teenager, it’s my moms job to worry and she is a nurse so I believe she would know more than a manager at a fast food joint. They are also saying that I never wanted to be out there and I don’t care about the job, just running their mouths when I never said that, I’d just like a break. Anyway, what I’m getting at is do you think I could win a lawsuit in a small claims court, what would I have to do to go about it or would it even be worth it or necessary?

  • R gallagher says:

    Kyle, what is your career? Just interested.

  • ukcat1 says:

    Mistakes are made by the fatigued and tired. This is true in any field. There needs to be staffing rules and regulations because it won’t be done on a voluntary basis.

  • Amanda says:

    Some of these comments are crazy! Yes, there are those out there that have harder jobs than us nurses. Like the ones defending our country giving us the right to get on here & give our opinion. However, to those that are saying “get over it.” Or “you have no idea”. I hope you never have any idea what it’s like to hold the hand of a family member that just found out their wife/mother/father/ or child only has a few days to live. Never have to continuously remind someone that, no this is not 1965 & your wife is not going to come see you today because she died 3 years ago. Or watch the cancer patient suffer because all the doctor will give her is Tylenol, when the drug addict with an infection from a needle stick has Dilaudid, Morphine, & Percocet. Yes, we are on our feet all day, few to no breaks. But the hardest part of being a nurse by far is the emotional. Looking at the obituaries & seeing your patient’s picture. I hope you criticizers never go through that. But to those of us that do, may God bless us all & give us the strength to get through each day without falling apart.

  • linda Phegley says:

    Kyle is a ignoramus and who cares what he does or thinks? I am a FNP student and have been a nurse for thirty years. Nurses don’t take orders from doctors, they collaborate with them and as a FNP diagnosis, order medications , council, teach, listen, comfort, advocate for…..We do need mandatory staffing and more power to the gentleman for trying to bring attention to a all to common fact. Yes, I am like a special force nurse, I have flown in aircraft, ambulances and worked in ER’s for thirty years.

  • Dustin says:

    I’ve been on the job for 15 years now doing 12 hour rotating shifts between days and graves. I have driven my squad car off of the road twice in that amount of time, once with a perp in the backseat…scared the s*** out of both of us. He even offered to drive, lol. Fatigue plays a major role in these types of accidents. Luckly I quickly snapped out of it and was able to bring the car to a safe stop, gain my compossure and continue on the venture. After years of these kinds of hours you become immune to Redbull and coffee, even doing 75 MPH down the highway with the windows down doesn’t always work. HOWEVER, we all signed up for these kinds of jobs, knowing full well what to expect. Hope the lawsuit helps your loss.

  • Randy KIrk says:

    Graduated nursing school in ’92. Had many different kind of jobs before that….I’ve been a nurse for 21 yrs. Most of my career has been in the ER. The public has NO IDEA what it’s like and it’s a huge waste of time to try to explain. I get the lawsuit, and see its justification. Because when it comes to money, THEN people take notice. Otherwise, to “john q-6pack,” we are just whining. They are clueless…. Many people think we are there to get pillows and warm blankets and provide nothing more then to make sure they are “comfortable”….again, absolutely clueless. So, to my fellow nurses…save your breath from a segment in our society that will never understand no matter how much we protest the situation. This lawsuit will do more than all the rhetoric voiced by us. Administrations take notice of this a lot more than explaining our plight.

  • Mary says:

    I have been a nurse for 29 years, I am tired!! In 5 days I have worked 80 hours, day shift and evening shift! Just so we are staffed, no one else to do it!! Do you think the company I work for, cares, NO!! I have been hit, abused and many hurt feelings by the D.O.N.’s But, I love taking care of people. The joy I get when someone tells me thank you!! Go forward with the lawsuit…

  • Amber says:

    I feel so horrible for this man and all the nurses as well as a lot of the doctors as well. I have had some very rude demeaning doctors and nurses but for the most part they are very good to me when I need to go there. I pray nothing like this happens again.

  • J. says:

    So sorry for your loss. She gave her life for selflessly saving others. Prayers for you and your family. Good luck on your attempt to make changes to save others the grief you are feeling.

  • This is a tragic story. I hope changes are made.

    I am a registered nurse that provides NCLEX practice questions. We have have developed a mobile app that nurses use to review practice NCLEX questions. Reviewing practice NCLEX questions is one of the fastest ways to pass NCLEX exam. Download now at http://www.nclexpreceptor.com

  • Ex nurse says:

    RN 17 yrs. Overworked and understaffed to ridiculous levels. When a nurse didn’t show up I had to stay. If caregivers didn’t show up I had to stay and attempt to find someone to work. 75 patients in the geriatric facility. All depending on me. Going home didn’t relieve the stress. I worried and stressed over if such and such got her medication. Did I get the orders placed to the pharmacy, are the medications appropriate or do I need to call the doctor, did I give the right dosage…. on an on my brain stressed. I know without a doubt I made mistakes. And some of those mistakes cost the patient. I I quit after 17 yrs. Today, 4 yrs later I am mentally ill, have PTSD and have nightmares about nursing frequently. All from nursing. I don’t have insurance or disability. We are homeless and frequently we go without food. We don’t have welfare or food stamps but we do go to the food bank when desperate. I would rather be in the situation I am in now then to spend one more day nursing. Do you worry about the nurse taking care of you or your loved ones? You should. I sure do.

  • mary says:

    As a nurse I see both sides but I have concern over where the blame is being placed. Put some on the nurses own organization that is pushing for nurses to have higher degrees ( I know many that quit, retired) rather than be FORCED back to school over threat of being fired. Put some on the gov’t./insurance companies and nursg. organizations that want the hospitals to have higher status for more money in return, put some on the person herself that took the extra shifts, drove herself home that day, put some on the hospital for not having enough trained staff. This situation did not happen because of one issue but rather many. I have been in nursing for over 34 years now and you have to have a certain make up for the job and feel comfortable with yourself and most of all be able to say NO. I also have a family member who worked with this person and she has said no before to overtime.

  • Robin Kaser says:

    While I feel bad for the husband , The nurse should have said no I will not work. Nurses do alot for their patients and they need to be alert and confident while doing their jobs. There are many careers out there that require more than a 8 hour shift , you need to be able to see that you have limits to what your body and brain can do. This is also a problem for the nursing organization because they are suppose to be their to support the needs of the nursing staff while they are doing thier jobs. everyone hates unions but unions have done alot to make our working situations safer for everyone.

  • Crustyrusty says:

    Oh yeah, tell administration that you won’t cover the 7th 13 hour shift in a row because they are too cheap to hire agency. Tell them that you won’t stay for the double shift because it isn’t safe. Tell them that 30 patients with 2 aides is too much; never mind that 10 of them are fingersticks 4 times a day, you have 5 g tubes, a couple of IVs going, and the demented people falling every couple of hours because the GOVERNMENT says they have the right to fall and die, well, until they do, then the surveyors are crawling up your a$$ trying to take your license.

    Oh yeah, I was a military cop for 20 years as well.

    I don’t want to hear it.

  • Junebabe says:

    I’ve worked in the ER in two different hospitals (non-clinical), and I’ve seen what these nurses go through. I agree with many of the comments here, and it’s true that nothing will happen no changes made until it hits the pocket book of the hospitals. I’ve seen the pressure placed on them to work the extra.
    What I’m concerned about here is this… I have a niece who has a degree in nursing graduated 2yrs ago and cannot find work. If there is such a shortage, why why why won’t they hire the newly graduated? I’ll tell you why! No experience. This is what she was told. No experience!!! Stupid!
    And as for my experience with Agency RN’s they are lackadaisical. Some know they are only there for a day or two so they go through the motions, some are caring but are so slow the daily nurses have to pick up their slack.

  • nurse4u says:

    I am a registered nurse and first want to offer my condolences to this family. It is a horrible tragedy. I hope this gentleman wins his lawsuit to better the broken healthcare system and be an advocate for our profession.
    Ignorance is bliss, especially for Kyle and others here commenting on hoe other first responder workers have it as hard. Im not comparing my positionto the police or firemen that are wonderful at their jobs because it is much different as they are not assigned to keep watch on 6+ more ill people every minute of their 12 hour shifts that usually turn into 15 with 3 of those being unpaid.
    As an RN who has worked in many different facets of nursing and currently a nurse in our military, it never changes whatever role we play. We do not just abandon our posts…our patients. We look out for them first then ourselves.
    Its time someone looks out for us. And that should be our employers first.

  • Cheryl says:

    I am not a nurse, lets be clear on that. However, I am a health care professional in Canada. Yes there are many jobs out there that are stressful and long hours, and it takes a whole world of people with different gifts working in every job field to make this world function.
    However, you have no right to degrade nurses or this family. I like to think he is not doing this for the money but, unfortunately, money talks. There are soo many hospitals who are understaffed and its such a ripple effect. The patients are effect as they wait incredible amounts of time to be seen and treated, drs and nurses are effected as they work long hours shortstaffed (so double work load), tons of overtime, the medics are stuck on offload delay causing a shortage of ambulances on the road for 911 calls and families of the staff are also effected as they deal with the mental and physical effects of over exhaustion on top of the normal emotional baggage. Unfortunatly, often times thenonly way for change to happen is when something bad like this happens. This is probably the only way the hospital will actually take things seriously and make change to increase staffing and decrease the workload and overtime of their staff.
    Do I agree it should be a lawsuit, unsure, but whuwt I do know is there needs to be change. If you could choose a nurse who works 5 8hr shifts a week or a nurse who works tons of overtime, is at the end of a 15 hr shift, tired hungry, feeling the weight of the last few patients who died, and missing her family …which would you pick? Cuz you don’t get that choice and often times its nurse option b that is taking care of you. Mind you they do a dang good job but this is when accidents happen. Change needs to hapen.

  • Cheryl says:

    And by the way its not just nurses who are having this understaffing, overworked problem. Its a reality of most jobs in health care. Its a reality of many jobs in many fields, but like someone mentioned, when the decisions you make could be a choice of life or death (as it is in my job) you don’t need to have unnecessary overworked and understaffed employees. Thoughts and prayers go to the family. I hope if nothing, that change happens and other hospitals follow. As to everyone in the health care profession and all the emergency services, police, paramedics and fire…thank you.

  • Cindy says:

    Kyle, your remarks are ridiculous!

  • decisions says:

    I also am a registered nurse in a level 1 trauma center and started as a Army medic 25 years ago at 17, became an LPN, then an RN.
    To those who believe that other jobs are more ‘hazardous’ etc… you MAY be accurate… only because it isn’t a burning building or pulling over potentially dangerous drivers etc…. HOWEVER….
    WE are the ones that deal every day with the unpredictable behaviours of all humans. I have seen hiv positive patients spit at nurses, I have seen pt’s bite nurses, I have seen a nurse slammed against a wall, I have had pts crawl up into vent shafts, I have had an incarcerated pt jump up from a bed n grab the officers weapon n fire, I have had the 2 people that beat a woman to death show up in the ICU, I have had angry gang members mass rush a trauma unit and bust out ER windows requiring hospital security as well as local police and hospital police to settle,… then there are the hazards of body fluids of every possible social level, class, age, color, religion etc and the needles and equipment used on them and being stuck with them , or splashed with or by them etc. A fire is a known and obvious hazard… people are unpredictable and add to that disease, illness, trauma, chemical imbalances, medications etc and you create a potentially endless array of hazards and each one dealt with by a nurse. Prayerfully you will understand that your nurse is at bedside 8-16 hours each day… and that they (thankfully) do NOT just sit back & “just do as the Dr tells them”… Dr’s may have several years of quality schooling, but there is NOTHING that compares to experience. I’ve seen many an ICU nurse save pt’s lives by their observations and assessment skills as well as drawing question to a Dr’s order.
    A fireman may have a dangerous job, but few jobs place ours, maybe some of the ‘less informed’ responders to this post, & every other citizens health and well being at their discretion and judgement at any given time…. from the pres, to a vagrant, or murderer. We can single handedly make your life better or worse with all of those orders a Dr writes… for what you MAY not know… many Dr’s do not even know HOW to properly carry out or administer many of the drugs or procedurss they order… they know its use etc… but a nurse will admonister it. Often (most often) it will also be a nurse who will explain all of the procedures and medical jargon a Dr uses to you, as you sit there blank faced and despondent because you don’t have a clue what to do or what was just said… long after that Dr has vanished.
    A nurse…. will even take care of that Navy Seal, that Airborne Ranger, that grunt, pilot, or that Dr who is a patient, or our own other nurses, with our goal to do our best, and help others, despite their ignorance of the fact that my mom had just died, we have a sick child at home, our home is a disaster, a parent or spouse is a cancer pt… yet we are expected to arrive at our job and be cordial and respect folks that are rude, swearing, expecting things of us that they or the pt don’t even do for themselves. Folks will be 450 lbs and not get up at home, yet we must turn them every 2 hours. We care for other’s family, when we may not get to do that for our own. And if you think that the job we do is worth less pay than the average plumber… how about you go ask THEM to pass your meds and do dressings and help when you’re in pain or having a heart attack or bleeding or in shock, or struggling to breathe… I Dare say… I’ll take a nurse ANY DAY…Even a Dr (at least any good one) will tell you, without nurses even their job is pointless, because nothing would get done without them!
    Proud to be a nurse! Despite the ignorance of many of just how valuable we are.
    ROCK on NURSES!

  • Mary Downs says:

    Some of you would sing a different tune if the nurse did not die, If a patient died due to nurses being over worked and schedules are not properly thought out, you all would be outraged!
    Fatigue is truly a reason for mistakes to happen,And get this employers know this! There are proven studies about this subject.
    This is not the first nurse to die driving after working a long shift. I get up at 3 am to open a unit at 430 am. I work a long day and so do my co-workers. We do this because of the need of patients and the need to cover the unit. Under staffing is a huge stress! Get another job? Really, you want dedicated people in health care, emergency personnel and law enforcement to find new jobs, instead of fixing these issues??
    Try to think of the big picture here. What do you think makes sense ? Fix the issue at hand? Or have more fatalities?
    I applaud him starting this suit, It is bringing awareness for the need of change. This change effects everyone including you and your families!

  • Mary Downs says:

    My Condolences are sent to the family, friends and her co-workers.

  • RN says:

    My deepest condolences to the family of the nurse who was killed. No amout of money will ever be able to replace her to her husband and children. This is truely about making change so no other families need to suffer. I too am a nurse in an ER dept in Canada and the same problems exist here. I once actually had a patient complain about waiting while the patient in the next bed was in cardiac arrest, Their comment at that time was” and that makes him more important than me?” I couldn’t even respond to that kind of a person – so I also won’t waste my time on responding to people like greg, jenny and kyle. But to all the nurses and other health care professionals who give far more than they ever receive because they care about the patients, we do what we do because we think we can make a difference. Yes it is our choice to work long shifts and overtime and come on our day off to care for others.It isn’t our choice to be disrespected by our management,- coworkers, our physicians and mostly our patients and their families. We do the best we can do with what we have. We don’t walk away from someone in need because our shift is over. We dont leave our coworkers stranded because 3 nurses called in sick and there is no one available to replace them. We stay and try to do the best we can. So if you are sitting in the waiting room with your non life threatening emergency and it seems to be taking along time, perhaps you should feel fortunate that you arent the one the nurses are all busy trying to resuscitate.Thank you to all emergency service workers,health care professionals for all that you give up to provide the best you can for your communities. To all health care workers for Dr’s , nurses, ward clerks and unit aides. We all work as a team to provide the best care we can. We don’t expect anyone to give us a standing ovation at the end of the day just a simple smile and a thank you would be nice once in awhile.

  • Mary Downs says:

    Rn, very well said. A thank you and smile goes a long way.

  • Wow, all the negative comments… must be nice to be an Obummer voter and sit home all day waiting for your next handout from hard-working people…

  • Elizabeth says:

    They federally regulated pilots to ensure they weren’t totally exhausted while flying, it only makes sense that regulations to ensure nurses aren’t overworked should happen! Pilots too sleepy to land a plane are no different than exhausted nurses pushing strong medications into IVs, or trying to drive home after a series of exhausting long shifts. I applaud this husband, his efforts are more than just a financial score, he is trying to transform an industry. Bravo!

  • someguy says:

    To the people who are saying ypu can’t just say no to the administration about working long hours without breaks…actually you can. There are laws protecting you just for those causes. If the company schedules you for more than an allotted time in a day you are required to take x amount of minutes per hours worked. If that company fires you for insubordination then you have a lawsuit because the company did not obey their rules. Every company has osha standards and other things like that posted somewhere for every employee to see. If not, that is a violation. I understand the job may be stressful and very demanding, but don’t sit thereblindly and say you ccan’t refuse certain requests that could harm your body because you can.

  • RN says:

    in response to some guy…. i don’t think anyone said they are not allowed to take breaks. its that the work load is sooo big that there isn’t time. Sure i could walk away whenever i feel tired or hungry or need to go to the bathroom, but when a cancer patient is needing pain medication or an elderly patient is about to crawl over the bed rails or someone asks to to help them to the bathroom, you just can’t walk away. Yes, some nurses would just walk away and ignore these pleas, and think of their own needs first, and then we are labelled uncompassionate, uncaring people. Most however would take the time to help others before helping themselves. We are nurses because we care about people and their quality of life. We don’t go to work just so we can collect the paycheck at the end of the week. We give up our breaks and lunches, our days off because we know that our patients need us, and if we don’t, who will? We give up our Christmas dinners with our own families, miss our childrens sporting events and school plays because we don’t want you and your families to suffer any more than they already do with their health related conditions. We try to gulp down a coffee and a bite to eat at the desk just so we can keep going and continue to provide the care that you need as best as we can under the most trying conditions. Recently I missed all my breaks in a 12 hr shift to help a team try to revive a 2 yr old little girl and to hold her mother in my arms while she begged me not to stop trying. To help her go to her lifeless little body and help her to say good bye. Are you suggesting that,even though i am entitled to a break, i tell her im leaving her to do these things on her own because its time for my break? There is never a good time, there is always someone who needs something, We don’t take time for ourselves because we would rather give it to our patients. On the rare occasion someone will bring the nurses a tray of coffee or a box of donuts. It is so much appreciated. But more often we have to take patients and their families yelling at us, being sworn at, having things thrown at us, being humiliated and degraded by the people we are doing our best to serve. I have heard too often, we pay your wages, or we helped build this hospital. Do you really think we want people to have to wait to get a bed, see a doctor, or get the tests they need? The reality is we don’t have an unlimited amount of staff or resources.We can’t just get more doctors or nurses to come. We have to do the best we can with what we’ve got. We are an amazing group of health care professionals trying to do the best we can and giving as much as we possibly can to help other. We are nurses and thats what we do!

  • nancy says:

    Well, I have to say, I have been an RN actively employed for 45 years. I love being a nurse and making a difference in someone’s life, easing pain, smothering, vomiting and all sorts of symptoms. I feel privileged and honored to be invited into the most intimate part of a family’s life when a loved is dying. Nursing is a calling, not a job for the money, and when you answer the call, you do what it takes. i have been kicked in the pregnant belly, spat on, cursed, backed into a corner and slapped repeatedly, unable to defend myself, “because it was a patient” and I knew that. I have worked many days without a break, meal or bathroom break because the needs never stopped. As far as our job not being dangerous, I visit dying people in homes where known drug abusers reside. I have had to take a deputy with me for protection more than once. Yes I have stayed over for another shift, because nurses can be sued for abandonment if no one is there to relieve us and we leave because it is time. Time [ for ourselves] is of no importance when someone is dying, in crisis or some other need. I have always said “Nursing is a wonderful choice for anyone who has no family, never intends to marry or have life, because it will drain the life out of you.”

  • dan says:

    As the child of a nurse, and now operating as one of the people kyle degraded, my mother had it much rougher than I ever will. Sure I work long hours day in and day out training for missions, but she went on mission every single day and night that she worked. My brothers’ lives may be in my hands from time to time, but more often than not, our missions go as planned. Her missions were planned when she started shift, and almost always something went awry. Most people aren’t in the hospital for simple issues, those can be addressed outside of that environment. Patients are all too often complicated cases, and the nurses are the ones tasked to care for each detail of a patient’s need. We don’t have any children yet, so I don’t know what its like to miss your child’s events or have to leave them because you receive a phone call, but I know that when that day comes, the call I will receive will be no more important than the thousands my mother received during my childhood. A profession is a relatively high status occupation whose members develop and apply abstract [expert] knowledge as human expertise to solve problems in a particular field of endeavor. Until you have dedicated your life to a profession, medical, military, law and law enforcement, or education, you will never understand the sacrifices your fellow Americans have made so that many can collect their unemployment and troll the internet.

  • Sharon Sloan says:

    Sorry I came to this late. @Kyle: “Just shut up and do what the doctor tells you to do.”

    Sure, I’d love to. Of course, working at a teaching hospital, and having prevented and seen other nurses prevent patients from being harmed by orders given (or not given when needed) by inexperienced (or lazy) doctors, I’ll save that little tidbit of advice for when you’re my patient.

    “Yeah, I know you’re allergic to morphine and all, but the doctor ordered it so I’m going to give it to you. He didn’t order any Benadryl for the anaphylaxis you’re going to experience, or Narcan to reverse the over-sedation you may suffer, but feel free to remind him next time you see him. If you’re still around. I’d remind him that this is a bad idea, and I’d love to refuse to give it since it’s professionally irresponsible. Certainly, as a trained professional I have a responsibility to be your advocate when the doctor screws up, but you already told me to shut up and do what he said. Oh, first I need you to sign this consent form so I can cover my butt when this hits the fan… OK, just a little stick, now!”

    :-) Enjoy!

Comments are closed.