A nurse was charged with murder Aug. 23 for allegedly causing the death of a 97-year-old patient at Baptist Health Lexington (Ky.), the Lexington Police Department said in a statement.
Eyvette Hunter, RN, was indicted in the death of James Morris. Ms. Hunter “intentionally performed actions of medical maltreatment” to Mr. Morris on April 30, and he died as a result of those actions on May 5, police said.
Ms. Hunter’s nursing license was also suspended this week, according to the Kentucky Board of Nursing.
The order suspending her license said Ms. Hunter administered lorazepam, a sedative, to Mr. Morris without a physician’s order, according to WKYT. Another nurse found the patient a short time later with labored breathing, and he died May 5. His cause of death was listed as aspirational pneumonia.
Ms. Hunter admitted to administering the drug to Mr. Morris without an order, according to WKYT.
“We have learned that a former nurse at our hospital has been arrested on criminal charges. The nurse has not worked here since April 30,” Baptist Health said in an Aug. 23 statement, according to WKYT. “The nurse was terminated and was reported to the Kentucky Board of Nursing. The hospital has fully cooperated with the police investigation. Patient care and safety are always our top priorities. Out of respect for the family and because this is a criminal matter, we are not able to talk about the investigation.”
The 6-3 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, challenging a Mississippi law banning most abortions after 15 weeks, overturns the nearly 50-year precedent providing a constitutional right to abortion. The opinion was little changed from a draft that was leaked last month, returning most decision making on abortion to states. At least 13 states have so called ‘trigger laws’ in place that will almost immediately make abortion illegal, and another 13 states are likely to pass similar laws.
The Gist: In over half of states, existing or new laws will likely prevent pregnant people from accessing critical and evidence-based reproductive healthcare services, including medically safe abortion, miscarriage care, pregnancy termination for severe fetal anomalies, and endangerment of the childbearing parent’s life.
Patients in Texas, which passed one of the strictest abortion laws last year, have already been facing challenges obtaining prescriptions for medications for miscarriage and abortion care. Many state laws which criminalize providing the procedure put physicians and other medical providers in legal jeopardy.
And as legal experts point out, most malpractice insurance doesn’t protect physicians from damages incurred from criminal charges.
Moreover, most laws have been written by legislators with little or no medical expertise, leading to lack of clarity about which potentially life-threatening situations, in what circumstances, merit pregnancy termination—forcing physicians to delay lifesaving obstetric care. (Read this NEJM piece to understand what this looks like for doctors and patients in Texas today.) Regardless, today’s decision will lead to increased mortality for pregnant people and those unable to seek safe abortion care.