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Member Achievement and Case News: Featured

Nurse Claim Fails on Causation Deficit

Sunday, February 18, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Tom Jensen
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Inmate had history of headaches and nightmares. On June 22 he reported to jail personnel who reported to the jail LPN he was having chest pain and hard breathing when he awoke from the nightmares, and he sought help finding the right medication for the nightmares. LPN construed the request as one to speak with someone about nightmares, a subject that was not medical in nature. On June 25 inmate reported breathing problems and a sore back. Nurse practitioner recommended that he breathe into a bag, believing he was having a panic attack. Then he reported chest pain. Hours later he died of a pulmonary embolism. In the subsequent suit estate's expert opined a medical exam should occur upon complaints of shortness of breath and chest pain. Court ruled the record showed a breach of the SOC for the failure to respond to the complaints. But in Ewers v. Saunders County, 298 Neb. 944 (Feb. 9, 2018) the supreme court, affirming summary judgment, ruled that the record did not establish proximate cause. No opinion evidence was proffered to show that the failure to respond on June 22 caused the June 25 death from pulmonary embolism. The opinion also questioned, but did not rule upon, the question whether a nurse could offer medical causation opinions. 

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