Family Nursing Leadership Case Study

Family Nursing Leadership Case Study

Family Nursing Leadership Case Study

A case study Assignment. 1. Describe your initial thought on the article in regards to the patient and the nurse.

2. What other information do you want to know about this incident, if needed? If you do not need additional information, what are the factors included that helped you come to a quick conclusion?

3. Should anything happen to the nurse in regards to her license?

Please refer to the uploaded article to answer the questions


A 63-year-old Roseville woman has sued Mercy Medical Center in Redding alleging that during a hospital stay last year a nurse brutally slammed a suction tube down her throat after telling her she was a “bad little girl” who needed to be punished.


Suzanne Aveihle, who suffers from chronic pancreatitis, alleges that in April 2009 she was taken to Mercy’s emergency room after falling ill during a trip visiting friends in Lassen County.


She was sedated because she was having trouble breathing, and she was placed in the hospital’s critical care unit, her husband, Bob Rinehart, said.


She woke up restrained.



Rinehart, 53, said that was understandable given that groggy patients often try to pull out their IV lines or oxygen tubes attached to their bodies.


But he alleges that when his wife reached up to scratch her nose, a nurse, identified in court documents as Rose Smith, said something to her that terrified her, Rinehart said.


“She said, ‘You’ve been a bad little girl. You shouldn’t do that. We punish bad little girls who do that,’” Rinehart said.


Smith then violently slammed a suction tube down his wife’s throat, Rinehart said.


“She was coughing up blood,” Rinehart said.


Smith returned another time during Aveihle’s hospital stay, saying again that Aveihle was a bad little girl who needed to be punished for trying to touch her face, Rinehart said.


His wife was initially so traumatized by the experience that she didn’t want to talk about it, but later confided in her husband, who reported the incident to hospital officials, he said.


At least one other nurse and a hospital administrator later told the family that other patients had complained about Smith’s behavior, but they’d addressed the problem, Rinehart said.


The family filed a lawsuit late last year in San Francisco Superior Court.



The lawsuit names Mercy and its San Francisco-based parent organization Catholic Healthcare West.


In a one-paragraph e-mailed statement, Mercy medical spokesman Michael Burke declined to comment on the lawsuit or answer questions about Smith’s alleged behavior. He wouldn’t confirm whether Smith is still a Mercy employee.


“Complaints or problems regarding employees or physicians are taken very seriously by the hospital, investigated completely and disciplinary actions are taken depending upon the severity of the issue as appropriate,” Burke said in his statement.


When reached by phone at her Red Bluff home, Smith said she no longer worked at Mercy, but she politely referred inquiries to her Sacramento attorney, Donna Low.


Low didn’t return a voice-mail message left late Monday afternoon at her office.


Low, a former nurse, specializes in medical law, according to her website.



Smith is listed as a licensed nurse in good standing on the California Board of Registered Nursing’s website.


Rinehart said his wife has been severely depressed since the hospital and she wakes, terrified, in the middle of the night after having nightmares about people sticking tubes down her throat.


“She can’t even watch these medical shows on TV any more,” he said. “She breaks into tears when she sees someone with a tube in their throat.”