CHICAGO, IL – Investigators at East Hope Memorial Hospital in Chicago are “sickened” by new findings in a neglect case involving an ICU patient. Reports are circulating that an ICU patient was accidentally sent to the morgue after a nurse failed to address the “Plan for Today” on the patient’s whiteboard.
On May 2, 2015, RN Billy Waterbees took over care for a patient Mrs. Edna Waxerton in room 303. A fatal error occurred during the shift when Waterbee forgot to write the “Plan for Today” on the patient’s whiteboard.
According to hospital sources, cleaning staff were instructed to clean room 304, but instead accidentally ventured into room 303. Mrs. Waxerton, exhausted from her evening of sundowning had pulled a white sheet up over her head and sank into the ICU bed for some much needed rest. The cleaning crew was puzzled by the site of a human body in the bed still under a white sheet. The Cleaning Manual 3.0 next instructs workers to look at the whiteboard for a plan for today in situations of possible deceased patients in rooms. If no plan exists on the whiteboard, “the bed is to be wheeled to the morgue.”
“All I saw was a blank whiteboard,” sobbed Mr. Tony Silvers, the custodian. “I thought it was my job to wheel her down to the morgue. I thought she was dead.”
“Our staff knows better than this,” hospital administrator Lance Oppenheimerton stated. “Plans for Today on whiteboards are vital to our patient’s recovery and this nurse neglected to write down any plan! A blank whiteboard is unacceptable in this hospital.”
Mrs. Waxerton awoke from her nap in the cold dark room and bolted upright. Morgue workers panicked and actually called a Code Blue.
Medicine resident Richard Brutus stated, “That was a first for me. I’ve never been called to the morgue for a code before. I just ran through my H’s and T’s and it was my astute medical student that mentioned the whiteboard plan had been blank in her room earlier. I immediately knew the problem.”
Mrs. Waxerton was covered in warm blankets and taken back up to the ICU. Her whiteboard now has a new plan written out: “Do not take to morgue. Patient is probably sleeping. Replete potassium and transfer to SNF.”