New report finds state behind on complaints over nurses

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A new report out may alarm anyone who might need a hospital visit.

It finds that a state board charged with investigating complaints about nurses is not doing its job, which may be putting patients' lives at risk.

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The state auditor's scathing report says the Board of Registered Nurses is slow to investigate complaints and bad about overseeing the resolution.

There are some stunning examples.

In one case, a nurse midwife did not consult with an obstetrician during a woman's labor that baby was born with neurological damage. The board took no action for 2-and-a-half years.

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In another case, a toddler died after a nurse allegedly gave the wrong dose of medication. It took 39 months for the board to finish investigating.

In fact, three quarters of the complaints took longer than 18 months to investigate.

But the state auditor's office says we should all worry about the delays.

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"The reason we should worry about that is because sometimes if a complaint takes too long to resolve, you may have a nurse that is continuing to practice, who may pose a risk to patients," said Margarita Fernandez, with the state's auditor's office.

The state auditor is recommending a deadline of next March for the Board of Registered Nurses to develop a plan to better train investigators and track investigations. If it doesn't comply, the board may have cuts to some of its powers or funding.
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