Wis. Hospital Lays Off RN in Mid-Surgery

April 21, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A Wisconsin health-care system is now the target of community controversy after one of its managers instituted the layoff of a nurse while she was assisting in a surgical procedure.

A news story on the Todaystmj4.com Web site said the recent incident was part of a broader cost-cutting effort at the Dean Health System in Madison, which had announced the layoffs of 90 employees because of the faltering economy.

According to the news account, Dean Health System contended that the patient was never at risk, despite the nurse being removed from the operating room and that “appropriate action” will be taken against the manager who pulled the nurse out of the surgery.

“Clearly there was an error in judgment on the part of the manager conducting the layoff,” Paul Pitas, Dean Director of Corporate Communications, said in a statement quoted in the story.”The absence of an RN goes against established patient care procedure.”

“There’s all kinds of ways they could have handled this and they didn’t do any of them appropriately I don’t think,” Dean Medical Assistant Cheryl Koerwitz said, according to the news report. “One of the gals at work says she’s ashamed to wear her Dean name tag now, and I think I will be too.”

Electronic retailer RadioShack was the target of some controversy in 2006 after the company notified about 400 employees of their pending layoff in an e-mail (see RadioShack Issues Emailed Layoff Notices ).