A nurse has pleaded not guilty after she was charged for inserting “her own agenda” and being negligent in the care she provided a patient before he died at Condell Hospital in Libertyville.
Geneva G. Wright, 32, of the 300 block of Lincoln Avenue in Grayslake, was charged with reckless conduct endangering the safety of a person, which is a Class A misdemeanor.
Wright pleaded not guilty during an arraignment hearing on Tuesday, court records show. A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for December 2.
The Libertyville Police Department said they were notified on March 2 by Advocate Condell Medical Center regarding the medical care provided by a nurse to a patient, who had recently died.
An investigation began by police detectives along with the Lake County Coroner’s Office and Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office, according to Libertyville Police Department Lt. Matt Goze.
Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek told Lake and McHenry County Scanner that the patient was Bulmaro Sanchez-Altunez, 58, of Round Lake Beach.
Sanchez-Altunez had been admitted to Advocate Condell Medical Center for treatment of COVID-19 in January.
Banek said that the man had a surgical airway inserted into him. Wright intentionally delayed cleaning the breathing tube, causing a lack of oxygenation, Banek said.
Wright admitted to investigators that she did not see a reason for the patient to continue being treated due to his critical condition.
Sanchez-Altunez was also being given medication through an IV drip to maintain his blood pressure.
Banek said that Wright intentionally misprogrammed the medication drip.
The case was presented to the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office, who approved the two misdemeanor counts of reckless conduct. A warrant was issued for the arrest of Wright.
Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said Wright “appears to have inserted her own agenda into the solemn end-of-life decision-making process that confronts so many families.”
“Even though the nurse’s criminal conduct did not cause the patient’s death, her actions violated the sacred trust that all of us place in our health care providers: ‘to, first, do no harm,'” Rinehart said.
Rinehart added that his office will be advocating for new laws that strengthen protections for vulnerable patients in this type of situation.
Goze said the investigation showed that this appears to be an “isolated incident” with Wright and the patient.
A spokesperson for Advocate Condell Medical Center confirmed to Lake and McHenry County Scanner that Wright was fired following an internal investigation.
“We are saddened and our hearts go out to the patient’s family. Nothing is more important to us than safety and we wholeheartedly believe our team members come to work every day to do the right thing and to serve our patients with compassion and respect,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
“However, this individual’s actions are not justified, regardless of their intent, and are a direct violation of our policies and protocols,” the statement added.
According to Wright’s public LinkedIn profile, she worked as an intensive care nurse at Condell until May and then began working for Stability Healthcare as an intensive care nurse after she was fired from Condell.
Wright was taken into custody in early October at her Grayslake residence and transported to the Libertyville Police Department where she was processed on the warrant, Goze said.
Wright’s bond was set at $20,000 and she was released from custody after posting 10% cash.