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Nurse Banned for Having Sex with Dying Patient

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By Jason Beahm on January 24, 2011 12:15 PM

Attention nurses: have sex with your terminally ill patients and you risk losing your nursing license for two decades.

Nurses have a responsibility to their patients. When they violate that trust, they not only put their job at risk, they risk the safety of the patient. An Oklahoma nurse recently heard quite the lecture on the topic from a judge. 

Why the tough talk? Because Amber Van Brunt, 33, of Oklahoma, had a sexual relationship with a married terminally ill patient. Parrish ultimately decided to ban her from being a nurse for 20 years. Brunt is appealing the decision, calling it a "miscarriage of justice." Chris Reiter, 43, suffered from Lou Gehrig's disease and said that Brunt seduced him.

"The nurse is the professional in this situation. It is the responsibility of the professional to say no to the vulnerable patient ... The rules [apply] the entire time ... you are assigned to the care of that patient, whether that is six days in the hospital or six months in hospice care or six years in a nursing home." Those were the words of a nursing board attorney, who was speaking before Oklahoma County District Judge Patricia Parrish.

Brunt contends that their sexual relationship occurred outside of her work as a nurse, or as her attorney put it, on her "own personal time," while visiting as a friend, CBS News reports.

The nursing board was not convinced, finding first that sexual contact did occur during nursing visits, but also saying that when the sex occurred is irrelevant.

The story gets even more complicated and twisted. Reiter's wife discovered the affair after Reiter attempted suicide. Two days before the suicide attempt, Van Brunt told Reiter in a text message that she was pregnant from another man. The suicide attempt, made with muscle relaxant pills, ultimately failed, but Reiter never returned home. He died two months later.

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