New Jersey hospital nurses improperly sedated patients with Benadryl, lawsuit claims

A nurse at Long Branch, N.J.-based Monmouth Medical Center alleges her boss retaliated against her for reporting that nurses were improperly sedating patients in the hospital's psychiatric unit, reports the Asbury Park Press.

Patricia Moran filed a lawsuit against West Orange, N.J.-based RWJBarnabas Health, which owns Monmouth, Oct. 9.

The suit said Ms. Moran noticed nurses in her unit were giving patients Benadryl to make them drowsy at night and did not record the medication in patient charts. She reported the issue to her immediate supervisor — the hospital's director of behavioral health services — in March.

The suit alleges the supervisor retaliated against Ms. Moran by denying her time on the unit's schedule and giving her a "bogus" citation. Ms. Moran, who's worked at Monmouth for more than 30 years, was also transferred to a pediatric psych unit. The suit claims Ms. Moran was falsely accused of refusing the assignment when she told the unit's supervisor that she did not have the required training or knowledge to work on the pediatric unit.

Leaders suspended Ms. Moran for 14 weeks without pay and gave her a final warning, which lawyers say contradicts the hospital's disciplinary policy.

Elizabeth Brennan, a spokesperson for Monmouth, declined to comment on Ms. Moran's case but told the Asbury Park Press that the hospital "is fully committed to providing a safe environment for our patients, visitors and staff."

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