7 Nurses Indicted in Broken Finger Gone Horribly Wrong

If gangrene, amputation don't sound like good results, NJ agrees with you
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 20, 2015 1:43 PM CDT
Updated May 24, 2015 6:11 AM CDT
An orthopedic surgeon said the bandage "was wrapped so tight only God could have removed it."   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Seven former New Jersey nurses have been charged with criminal neglect in the case of a woman who needed her hand amputated after a broken finger wasn't treated properly. An indictment issued last month said seven Vineland Developmental Center nurses failed to aid the "physical or mental health" of resident Wendy Hart, whom officials described as physically and mentally disabled. Prosecutors alleged the nurses wrapped a bandage around Hart's hand so tightly that it developed gangrene and had to be amputated in April 2012, according to a state Department of Health and Human Services report. An orthopedic surgeon who saw Hart that month said the bandage "was wrapped so tight only God could have removed it."

Officials said two of the defendants were registered nurses and the others are licensed practical nurses. They are charged with endangering the welfare of a disabled person. Four of the nurses are also charged with official misconduct and falsifying or tampering with records. All seven were fired from the center; an additional practical nurse who wasn't criminally charged also was fired. A nurses' union rep said the length of time between the amputation and indictments reflects a broken system. "It's terrible, I understand, and am very sympathetic to the patients," he said. "But for criminal charges to be brought three years after the fact and not even have a hearing? ... There is no fairness." An arraignment was held Monday.

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