Prison Nurse Found To Be Wrongfully Fired Due to Inmate's Death While In Her Care

A  prison nurse was found to be wrongfully fired due to the death of an inmate


OHIO-A prison nurse was found to be wrongfully fired due to the death of an inmate in her care in 2015, according to the state Court of Appeals.  

Michael Anthony Kerr was an inmate at the state prison when he died while in solitary confinement. The inmate died of dehydration after being left handcuffed for five days. 

The 54-year-old man suffered from  schizophrenia and didn't receive any medical attention till he was discovered in a semi-conscious state, lying in his own excrement. 

He died en-route to the state prison hospital that was a three-hour drive, instead of being transported to the local hospital. 

30 employees of the prison were disciplined in relation to the inmate's death,  9 were fired.  

Kerr was serving a 31-year sentence for being a repeat offender. 

Nurse Clark was in charge of  74 employees with the nursing staff at Alexander Correctional Institute, according to the ruling. The Department of Public Safety said she was terminated for "unacceptable personal conduct and grossly inefficient job performance" in the way she dealt with Kerr's care and supervised other nurses who cared for him. 

In 2015 a Judge ruled her firing wrong and reinstated her.  According to the judge, the  Department of Public Safety failed to train Clark in a supervisory role when she was promoted. The judge said she was forced to deal with inadequate staff numbers and supervisors who neglected to deal with issues when they occured. The judge also concluded that nurse Clark was not responsible for his death and none of her actions caused his death.

The Court of Appeals agreed with the judge's decision.

The appeals court said, "the supervisory inadequacies of Clark's direct supervisors may have been more actionable than Clark's," because of their failure to act when Clark notified them of problems. They were also responsible for training Clark when she was promoted, as they promised, but they failed this too. 

According to the ruling,  " Clark's direct supervisors were not disciplined, Clark, on the other hand, received the most severe discipline, termination."

The Court of Appeals ordered the state to pay all of her legal fees, in the amount of  $22,330.42.

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