January 22, 2018

The unauthorized removal of inoperative medical equipment may not constitute misconduct

The unauthorized removal of inoperative medical equipment may not constitute misconduct
OATH Index No. 2286/17

A respiratory therapist [RT] was charged with removing a respiratory device from a patient, failing to notify a doctor or clinical team that respiratory device had been removed, and failing to respond when summoned to report to the emergency department to provide respiratory care for a trauma patient.

OATH Administrative Law Judge Astrid B. Gloade credited proof showing the patient broke the device before RT had removed it and recommended dismissal of the charge related to RT removal of the device from the patient. In effect, Judge Gloade found that an unauthorized removal of a patient’s inoperative respiratory machine did not constitute misconduct on the part of RT under the circumstances.

In contrast, the ALJ found that RT's failure to notify the clinical team that of the removal the nonfunctioning device from the patient and RT's failure to respond when summoned by the emergency department constituted misconduct for which RT could be sanctioned in an administrative disciplinary action.

Accordingly, Judge Gloade, recommended that RT be suspended for sixty-days without pay.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:


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