LEGAL QUESTIONS: Sleep-talking doc

January 2005 
Volume 35  Number 1
Pages 65 - 66
  PDF Version Available!

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc. Volume 35(1)             January 2005             pp 65-66 Sleep-talking doc [LEGAL QUESTIONS: TELEPHONE ORDERS]


A nurse-colleague is in a jam. He had to call a physician at home at 4 a.m. because his patient was in severe pain and no order for pain medication was in the chart. The physician, who sounded as if she'd been sound asleep, gave my colleague an order, which he wrote down and read back to her. He then administered the medication as prescribed. Unexpectedly, the patient had an adverse reaction to the drug and needed resuscitation .

Now the physician denies ever giving the order and my colleague is worried about losing his license. Who was responsible in this situation? —R.W., N.H.

Telephone orders are a common source of medication errors. A nurse who writes down a telephone order ...

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