What Qualifies as Patient Abandonment?
A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog discussing the relationship between low pay and female-dominated professions
As is typical with blogs, the subsequent discussion from readers touched on several indirect subjects including nurse/patient ratios. Bernd from New York then mentioned the concept of patient abandonment and referenced the New York State situation regarding patient abandonment.
That particular point got me thinking about the abandonment concept. As a hospital COO, periodically I heard charges of patient abandonment hurled at nurses by other nurses. In the profession, abandonment is considered the crudest, most unprofessional act. After all, nursing is supposed to be about caring and always making the patient No. 1.
While some cases could be conceivably considered abandonment, in most instances, the accusations were just empty charges designed to embarrass and malign a colleague. In nursing, abandonment ranks right up there with sexual harassment and patient abuse. Stay with me here, this is convoluted, but I am getting to the point.
Although clinical laboratorians do not have individual patients, they certainly work for the good of patients and perform an essential role that impacts on life and death. Should there be a similar concept in the CLS profession? Are there instances in which laboratorians can be credibly accused of job/patient abandonment? What sorts of actions would qualify?
Some scenarios: A Microbiology CLS is pulled to Transfusion Services to help because of several traumas in the ED. When the sole TS tech repeatedly asks her to perform tasks she is uncomfortable doing, the Microbiology tech leaves rather than (in her words) "kill somebody."
A CLS/CLT who has worked a double shift leaves when his/her relief does not show up on time. What about if there is a bomb threat in another part of the hospital and a CLT leaves the hospital against her supervisor's instructions because she thinks self-preservation is the first law?