Denver (CO) Health Medical Center suspended five nurses for three weeks after confirming they intentionally viewed a patient’s genitals without cause, including opening his body bag to view the deceased man’s body parts.
The hospital released a statement confirming the suspensions after local television station KMGH received a tip that the nurses had admired the man’s genitals while he was incapacitated, and after his death even opened the body bag to view parts of his body. A hospital spokesman confirmed those actions when contacted by the station’s news department.
A nurse not involved in the incidents overheard one of nurses talking about it and reported the comments to administration, according to Denver Health Medical Center spokesman Josh Rasmussen. The nurses worked in a medical unit.
A representative from the hospital’s risk management department contacted the Denver Police to report the incidents, according to a police report.
“Multiple staff members viewed the victim while he was incapacitated, including after he was deceased,” a Denver Police report says. “The complainant, Risk Management for Denver Health, made a mandatory report.”
Police officials consulted a prosecutor, who determined there was insufficient evidence to prove a crime was committed. No charges were filed, and the police referred the matter back to Denver Health to handle internally, the report says.
The hospital originally disciplined two nurses during an internal investigation, but three more nurses were suspended by the end of the investigation. Rasmussen describes the discipline as “serious,” and their personnel files will reflect the suspensions.
Four of the nurses ultimately returned to work. One left the hospital voluntarily.