Former nurse's suit claims Excela fired her for blowing whistle
A former nurse at Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital in Greensburg claims she was fired because she reported allegations that patients may have been contaminated from equipment.
In a three-count whistleblower lawsuit filed in Westmoreland County, Kelley Lear of Homer City contends she notified hospital officials of suspicions that in May 2011, officials falsified findings to indicate that an autoclave, a device that sterilized surgical instruments, had passed inspections.
The autoclave failed those tests, according to Lear's lawsuit.
Lear contends that in September, she was suspended for having a "negative conversation" by reporting the allegations that the autoclave test results were altered.
She claimed that she was erroneously fired two weeks later under the hospital's disciplinary policy for failing to clock in to work on her first day back on the job.
"Westmoreland Hospital discharged, threatened, otherwise discriminated and retaliated against Mrs. Lear because she made a good faith report of wrongdoing to it," according to her lawsuit.
She is seeking an unspecified amount in compensatory and punitive damages against the hospital.
Excela officials on Friday denied any wrongdoing.
"We have not seen the complaint, but based on our understanding of the allegations, we can say we did a full and complete investigation, and determined there was not a patient safety concern. Both the Department of Health and the Joint Commission agreed.
Our past actions demonstrate that if we do have a safety issue, we will notify patients, and be transparent," hospital spokeswoman Jennifer Miele said.
In June, Excela notified 61 patients that an autoclave wasn't working properly during a four-day period beginning on May 2 at Excela Health Frick Hospital in Mt. Pleasant.
Last year, Excela sent letters to 191 patients telling them they may have had coronary stents implanted unnecessarily at the Greensburg hospital.
So far, 83 stent patients filed lawsuits against Excela.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Last option for former Jeannette Glass site: Pa. Supreme Court
- Jeannette man arrested in city shooting
- McKeesport man ordered to trial in New Stanton hotel homicide
- $200K grant will go toward demolition at Monsour Medical site
- Hole in North Huntingdon dance studio believed to be from car crash
- Hempfield joins county land bank
- Police identify Acme man who died after crash
- Kecksburg celebrates its UFO history with annual festival
- Traffic detour lifted
- Hempfield library programs at risk as funds dip
- Fairfield Township resident honored by Loyalhanna Watershed Association