The (Very Public) Case of Amanda Trujillo

State Seal of Arizona.
State Seal of Arizona. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Truth About Nursing had a post yesterday, “Amanda Trujillo: Fired for Educating A Patient?” Briefly, it is reported that in April 2011 the hospital administration where Ms. Trujillo was employed filed a complaint against her with the Arizona Board of Nursing (BON) and also fired her. The firing and BON complaint were allegedly for Ms. Trujillo referring her patient with end-stage liver disease to have a hospice consult—when the patient’s surgeon had already scheduled the patient for a liver transplant. As stated in the Truth About Nursing post, the Arizona BON was scheduled to decide on the case at its meeting at the end of March, but there are no public reports of their decision.

What I find most interesting about this case is the level of social media presence about the issue, and much of it directly from Ms. Trujillo. Unless there is someone posing as her, she appears to weigh in with details about her case on high profile forums such as KevinMD (see guest post by a semi-anonymous ‘J. Doe’, RN. “Why Physicians Should Care About Amanda Trujillo” date unstated). Ms. Trujillo set up an online legal defense fund to help defray the costs of retaining a personal lawyer to assist with her case with the Arizona BON.  A psychiatric nurse who goes by the name Mother Jones and blogs under Nurse Ratched’s Place, has a link to the NurseUp! nursing advocacy website that reports having raised $1,700 in additional support for Amanda Trujillo. Mother Jones speculates in April 25th blog post that the case is headed to the court system, and that this is why there is no public information on the Arizona BON decision. There have been numerous letter-writing campaigns to the Arizona BON and the Arizona Nurses Association, as well as to various state officials and even to the ANA. There were allegations of close ties between the Arizona BON and the hospital which filed a complaint against Ms. Trujillo. There have even been calls to boycott the Arizona tourism industry in protest of the Arizona BON in the their handling of the case of Amanda Trujillo. Maybe boycotting Arizona’s hospitals would have made more sense?

I continue to be dismayed by the lack of understanding by nurses (and the general public) of just how corrupt and inefficient our state-level health professions regulatory system is. It will be interesting to see if higher profile cases such as Amanda Trujillo help bring much needed reform to this system. (see my previous post “Not Just Culture” 11-19-11 for more information on the health professions regulatory system and its relation to nursing and public health.).

2 thoughts on “The (Very Public) Case of Amanda Trujillo

  1. Thank you for taking notice of Amanda’s case. It has been a learning experience for me regarding BON, Nursing Association and Employer practices in Arizona. I’m the owner/webmaster/author of Nurseup.com

    The AZBON’s (and other BONs) practice of publishing “allegations” publicly before a nurse or their attorney has a chance to rebut them strikes me as highly abusive and prejudicial. Will read your “Not Just Culture” article with interest.

    When Amanda asked for help with her case, we decided using Social Media was the fastest way to spread the word. Bloggers have been generous in the attention paid to her case.

    What happened to her, could happen to any nurse advocating for their patient. This is one of the many reasons we stand by her.

    Our group set up the legal defense fund, change.org petitions & cause.com pages. Amanda’s situation is not an isolated one. We’re looking to blaze a trail, that other nurses can follow when faced with similar situations.

    Like

    1. Hi Andrew,
      Great work you are doing! I agree that it is a very large issue affecting many ‘silenced’ nurses as well as the general public who don’t understand this Byzantine system. As I wrote in my ‘Not Just Culture’ post, “(Health professions regulatory boards) are labor market institutions, administrative agencies with executive, legislative and judicial powers, ostensibly under public mandate to protect public health and safety. According to economist Morris M. Kleiner in Licensing Occupations: Ensuring Quality or Restricting Competition? (Upjohn Institute Press, 2006), they are self-policing, self-regulating bodies, and have been identified as state-sanctioned monopolies.”

      Like

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