Amarillo nurse calls 'safe harbor' at NWTH

      Northwest Texas Hospital, Amarillo

      W hen a nurse feels she has been asked to perform an assignment she believes is unsafe for a patient, she can invoke something called "safe harbor".

      S aturday afternoon, a nurse decided to do that at Northwest Texas Hospital.

      " T he nurse called a safe harbor but in a very short period of time it was rescinded because we were able to bring in the appropriate staff , " said Caytie Martin, Northwest Texas Hospital spokesperson.

      A nonymously, one nurse called Pronews Seven to tell us about her concerns.

      S he said she has worked at the hospital for many years, and said she was worried about the situation and concerned the emergency room could be closed down temporarily.

      T he ER was not shut down but it did have some overcrowding.

      " W e experienced a surge in our patient population ," said Martin. "S o because of that surge we went on diversion, that means we do not accept any ambulance traffic."

      I n that situation, if a patient is being transported by ambulance, he would have to be taken to another accepting facility.

      " W e continue to except trauma and stemis-which is with the heart because that is by law."

      T hey also continue to accept walk-ins.

      B ut again, Martin says Northwest Texas Hospital was able to rescind the safe harbor call quickly.

      N urses who call safe harbor have the chance to go to a peer review and explain what they feel is best for them and their patients.

      T he nurse in Saturday's scenario will not suffer any repercussions -- including repercussions with a nursing license.