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Is a nurse who is not employed by a skilled nursing facility allowed to come in and remove a PICC line from a patient at this facility?

Friday August 2, 2013
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Question:

Dear Nancy,

Is a nurse who is not employed by a skilled nursing facility allowed to come in and remove a PICC line from a patient at this facility? Can the facility be liable, in the event there is a problem?

Randy



Nancy Brent replies:

Dear Randy,

Your question contains few details from which a more detailed response can be made. So, only a few general comments and questions can be raised.

Although I canít ascertain from your letter where the nurse is from or who requested that he or she perform the PICC removal, concerning liability, remember that under a professional negligence analysis, one is responsible for his or her own behavior. So, whoever this nurse is and in whatever capacity he or she acted in the skilled facility, should there be a problem with the removal of the PICC line that results in injury to the patient, that nurse will bear liability for that injury, if it is proven.

Also, a facility has specific duties to its residents that are different from healthcare providers who work in the facility. One of the duties the facility has is to hire and utilize capable, skilled and licensed healthcare providers. If it allowed a nurse to come into the facility to do this procedure and the nurse was not competent, the facility would bear liability for utilizing an unqualified nurse.

The facility may also bear responsibility for not having a nurse on its staff who is able to perform the removal, if such a qualification is required by state law, Medicare or another accreditation authority.

Sincerely,
Nancy




Nancy J. Brent, RN, MS, JD, is an attorney in private practice in Wilmette, Ill. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal or any other advice. The reader is encouraged to seek the advice of an attorney or other professional when an opinion is needed.