A nurse at the Moncton City Hospital has been fired for administering a labour-inducing drug to her patients without their consent.
Over the past two years, health officials noticed an unusually high rate of emergency C-sections at the Moncton City Hospital. In mid-March a physician suspected that their patient had been given oxytocin – a drug given to women to increase contractions and induce labour.
Further investigation uncovered that IV bags had traces of this labour-inducing drug, and surveillance footage showed the nurse in question taking these bags to an undisclosed location. The RCMP is now investigating as many as 120 cases of emergency C-sections potentially caused by this nurse’s egregious conduct.
Oxytocin plays an important role in uterine contractions and while oxytocin supplementation is indicated in some cases, it also carries serious risks and contra-indications. It causes sustained and frequent contractions and increases the risk of uterine rupture and fetal distress. When administered improperly, and where the mother and fetus are not closely monitored, an emergency C-section is often required due to concerns over fetal distress.
The news that a healthcare professional has intentionally jeopardized the safety of extremely vulnerable patients – new mothers and their babies – is undoubtedly distressing to many. The law recognizes that, because we trust our nurses and doctors to prioritize our health and safety, actions such as these will give rise to serious consequences.
As the victims in this case – mothers who may have undergone unnecessary surgical intervention and their babies – all suffered as a result of similar wrongdoing, a potential class action against the nurse and the hospital is being investigated. The law holds hospitals to account for the improper and illegal conduct of their nurses to ensure that situations like this one do not happen. We expect hospitals to monitor and supervise to a level where such improper behaviour is identified and prevented. In this case, two years went by without a proper explanation for these emergency C-sections, placing patients’ health and safety in jeopardy.
Anyone who has further questions is invited to contact Wagners at 1-800-465-8794 or [email protected].