Journal Sentinel story prompts state to tell regulators about 2016 near-death

MADISON – After a 14-year-old inmate at Lincoln Hills School for Boys nearly died because nurses didn’t get him to a doctor for three days, the Board of Nursing waited seven weeks to file the complaint. More than two years later — on the first business day after the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published an article about the incident — officials entered the complaint into the board’s electronic system, the newspaper reported last week.

A Department of Corrections spokesperson wouldn’t say why the agency held off seeking the review for so long, wrote Patrick Marley of the Journal Sentinel. Likewise, Board of Nursing officials did not explain why it waited more than a month process the complaint.

The February 2016 incident happened when registered nurses gave the teen Sierra Mist, Gatorade and crackers for days when he was repeatedly vomiting because his appendix was at risk of bursting, Marley reported. A doctor who performed emergency surgery on him at the time called the nurses’ actions inexcusable.

Former prison superintendent Wendy Peterson — as well as top officials at the Department of Corrections — did not alert the Board of Nursing at the time, according to the story. DOC did alert the board, however, on July 16, after the Journal Sentinel asked about the incident and sought copies of documents under the state’s open records law.

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