The Louisiana Citizens for HealthCare Reform recently learned that an ER nurse at the LSUHSC-Shreveport tested positive for drugs-again. This came as no surprise. Many current and former employees know of the rampant drug abuse at the institution by even some of the top administrators. Current and former employees, in an effort to see definitive action taken, long ago informed the current leaders of LSUHSC. Although we cannot give names here they were given names and specific incidences. Random drug screening was one of the recommendations. But no significant action has been taken.
It is obvious that when peoples’ lives are involved such as at a hospital there should be zero tolerance of drug abuse. A hospital is not a place for unstable individuals. Yet a high proportion of the nursing staff in the ER is either using illegal or legal psychotropic drugs. One of the legal drugs that is abused is alcohol. Some nurses come in with alcohol on their breath. Other nurses and doctors in and outside of the ER have accumulated DWIs and DUIs.
Maybe the reason patients are abused at LSUHSC is because of the psychological instability of many of its doctors and nurses. We have documented beatings, torture, criminal negligence, and incompetence. Not only are regular patients the victims, helpless psychiatric patients and shackled prisoners have also been roughed up. One psychiatric patient’s jaw was broken. One psychiatric patient had an oversized catheter shoved up his penis. Nurses laughed as he screamed. In another case the mouth of a patient who was seriously injured was stuffed with gauze because his pain was causing him to make too much noise. This patient later died in the hospital under mysterious circumstances. One psychiatric patient died after a three-day wait in the ER waiting room. She defecated and urinated on herself after waiting for three days and approaching death repeatedly cried out, “Will somebody please help me?” A nurse who heard this said, Her fat ass is going to have to lay in that.” and then went to breakfast. While the nurse was at breakfast the patient died.
In a recent case a psychiatric patient tried to hang himself after receiving numerous cigarette burns with the evidence pointing to an ER nurse. We have also learned of the possible misuse of doctor’s prescriptions by personnel in the burn unit to illegally obtain Lortab that was allegedly covered up. The justice department has also documented fraudulent billing. Perhaps if the drug problem at LSUHSC were definitively addressed patients would get better care and honest and complete billing could be attained.
Instead of action by the administration we have seen doctors, nurses and staff who were documented drug abusers and who had physically abused patients promoted over more qualified individuals who were not substance abusers and did not have a record of patient abuse. We have seen a general pattern of promoting less qualified doctors, nurses and staff over more qualified individuals. EEOC judgments have been made against LSUHSC because it hired less qualified individuals over more qualified ones. This is the subject of a current lawsuit and an additional separate EEOC investigation. This has made us wonder whether one must be flawed or at least mediocre to be promoted at LSUHSC because that is who we see getting ahead.
The Louisiana Citizens for HealthCare Reform is doing all it can to make LSUHSC-Shreveport an excellent place for patient care. These are our positions.
We recommend that the current political office holders, Lydia Jackson, Roy Burrell, Patrick Williams and Barbara Norton be replaced. Our queries to them have convinced us that as long as they are in office nothing meaningful will be done.
Since none of the state or federal agencies has taken action so far we have contacted the United Nations Human Rights Council and will ask for an investigation of the Human Rights abuses at LSUHSC.
We will continue to assist patients and families who have been abused or the victims of incompetence. We have assisted a member of a patient’s family who was visiting his relative in the hospital and was attacked and injured by an LSUHSC police officer. This police officer had a previous record of abuse prior to being hired by LSUHSC. This incident is the subject of a lawsuit against LSUHSC.
We still recommend random drug testing, not for one day but for everyday, for the highest administrators as well as those lower in the hierarchy.
We will continue to expose wrongdoing at LSUHSC. The administration has tried to suppress news of wrongdoing, failures and lawsuits. Employees are terrified of speaking out. LSUHSC has been successful with most of the local media such as the Shreveport Times that still refuses to print the documented facts that we submit to it. In spite of the opposition, we will not be quiet until all patients black, white, rich, poor, criminal, insane or unfortunate are treated with the courtesy, dignity and competence that human beings deserve. This is our promise.