A Kaiser Permanente nurse in California has alleged that she lost her job after refusing to cover up a patient’s death that was caused by inadequate medical care. The woman says that the medical facility in Fontana had been poorly designed for patient care because of the location of the nursing resources. As a result, a young patient died from a preventable condition. The woman explains that she suffered a retaliatory dischargeafter protesting about patient safety problems at the facility.

Reports show that the woman was on duty in late May 2013 when a 3-year-old girl was admitted into her wing of the hospital. The plaintiff said that part of the hospital was poorly designed because the nurse in the emergency bed area was unable to effectively monitor patients’ vital signs. A nurse who was dealing with an emergency in the area would also be isolated from other medical professionals if help was needed.

The woman’s fears were proven reasonable on May 26, when the child was admitted into that wing of the hospital. The woman said she complained that day that the child should have been placed in another room, but her protests went unheeded. The child began experiencing medical problems after the woman returned from her break, and she was unable to summon help. A series of mistakes by other physicians then led to the child’s death.

Even though the woman had consistently received praise for her work, she was terminated when she refused to participate in an alleged scheme to cover up the death. This is not a new story; scores of California workers suffer retaliatory discharge simply because they try to do the right thing. These victims deserve compensation for their emotional and financial distress that may have been caused by the untimely loss of employment.

Source: Courthouse News Service, “Kaiser Nurse Blames Firing on Patient Care” Tish Kraft, Apr. 22, 2014