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Hands of the doctor make an injection in a dropper.
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A Sparrow Hospital nurse alleges he was fired so the hospital could hide the fact that it was common for some nurses to administer drugs to patients without a doctor’s order, according to a report in the Lansing State Journal.

According to Chad Martinsen, a nurse who worked in Sparrow’s catheterization lab, doctors were busy and expected nurses to have patients ready and sedated, and to keep them comfortable during the procedure. If they did not, the doctors would become frustrated.  As a result, nurses routinely gave drugs to patients without a physician’s order, and at times Martinsen felt like a nuisance if requested an official order. Martinsen, who worked at Sparrow for nearly nine years, indicated that after working in the cath. lab for a certain amount of time, that he rarely got official orders for the drugs. Instead, he was told “Chad, do your thing” or “Chad, make the patient stop moving.” Physicians would then sign orders after the procedures were completed.

Martinsen isn’t the only Sparrow employee coming forward with these allegations. The Lansing State Journal reported that five current and former nurses and cath lab technologists at Sparrow told the Journal that this was common practice at Sparrow. But Martinsen claims he feels like a scapegoat after a patient had a bad reaction to fentanyl that was not signed off by a physician. Martinsen continued to work after this incident, but Sparrow suspended him days later and eventually terminated him weeks later for falsifying medical records and giving drugs without a doctor’s order. Sparrow has denied that this is a common practice.

While Martinsen acknowledges that giving drugs to a patient without a physician’s order is against the law, he feels like his termination was an injustice for doing something that doctors expected of nurses in the cath. lab. As a result of this incident, Martinsen was subjected to a state investigation, had to complete a drug intervention program, and now has an asterisk on his license to practice nursing.

As a medical malpractice attorney, I often encounter patients that have been injured or suffer adverse results due to the culture of hospital systems that focus on profits over safety. If you or a loved one believe you have been injured as a result of the medical care you received, contact the Grewal Law team for a free consultation.

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