|Legal Eagle Eye Newsletter for the Nursing
Profession (6)11 Nov 98
Quick Summary: A nurse who participates in physician peer-review
cannot be sued if the peer-review was done:
- With a reasonable belief the peer-review would contribute to
- With a reasonable effort to obtain the facts.
- With a reasonable belief the peer-review action was warranted by
the facts, and
- With adequate prior notice to the physician.
On the other hand, peer-review undertaken with malice against a
physician can be grounds for a civil lawsuit. COURT OF APPEAL OF LOUISIANA,
The patient died during a balloon angioplasty. A nurse was assisting.
Her only involvement in the physician peer-review process was to
testify to the hospitalís peer-review committee that she pulled the
catheter sheath out of the patient during CPR. That action had made it
impossible to determine in the autopsy whether the catheter was
properly situated, improperly situated and/or defectively manufactured.
The physician maintained the hospital was interested only in using
this incident to force him out, because the hospital was concerned he
was keeping his patients in the hospital longer than Medicare would
reimburse and costing the hospital money.
The Court of Appeal of Louisiana did not explain how it implicated
the nurse for taking sides against the physician. However, the court
kept her in the case as one of many defendants in the physicianís
lawsuit. Zamanian v. Christian Health Ministry, 715 So. 2d 57
(La. App., 1998).