TribLIVE

| News

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Former nurse's suit claims Excela fired her for blowing whistle

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Saturday, March 17, 2012
 

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.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Westmoreland

  1. Last option for former Jeannette Glass site: Pa. Supreme Court
  2. Jeannette man arrested in city shooting
  3. McKeesport man ordered to trial in New Stanton hotel homicide
  4. $200K grant will go toward demolition at Monsour Medical site
  5. Hole in North Huntingdon dance studio believed to be from car crash
  6. Hempfield joins county land bank
  7. Police identify Acme man who died after crash
  8. Kecksburg celebrates its UFO history with annual festival
  9. Traffic detour lifted
  10. Hempfield library programs at risk as funds dip
  11. Fairfield Township resident honored by Loyalhanna Watershed Association