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Nurses in Ohio may be facing discipline, still treating patients

A recent article in the Dayton Daily News reveals the disturbing news that nurses who are facing professional misconduct charges in the state may still be practicing nursing because of a massive complaint backlog. Complaints have been skyrocketing so that the Ohio Board of Nursing has been taking up to a year or more to hold a hearing to evaluate the charges against nurses and decide whether to take away their licenses.

This means that nurses who have mistreated their patients through abuse or neglect may still be working as nurses. Sometimes nurses even get fired from their current employer after complaints are filed, but they just get a job at another company because they still have their license have not faced a disciplinary hearing and their new employer does not know of their history.

The Dayton Daily told the story of a nurse who is accused of causing a patient's death a year ago who still hasn't had a hearing with the Nursing Board. The nurse is accused of neglecting her 14-year-old disabled patient. The girl died of starvation during her Medicaid-funded care by a nurse in her home.

The Board wants to provide due process, but the process is taking so long that it puts other vulnerable patients in danger. The number of complaints has jumped in recent years. In fiscal year 2011, there were 6,880 complaints.

Source: Dayton Daily News, "Complaint backlog allows nurses to keep working," Josh Sweigart and Doug Page, Feb. 24, 2012

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