OKLAHOMA CITY (CBS/AP) Amber Van Brunt, a 33-year-old nurse who worked in an Oklahoma hospice program, is being banned from the profession for 20 years after she allegedly had sex with a married terminally ill-patient at his home.
A hearing is set for Wednesday to consider an appeal filed by Van Brunt, who calls the discipline a "miscarriage of justice," according to The Oklahoman.
Van Brunt, of Shawnee, located east of Oklahoma City, worked in a program at Angelic Family Hospice that provided nursing care for patients at their homes.
The patient, who attempted suicide in March, two days after Van Brunt told him in a text message that she was pregnant by another man, died in May.
According to Van Brunt's attorney, she had a consensual relationship with the patient - a 43-year-old terminally ill man suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease.
The lawyer said that relationship was carried out on the nurse's "own personal time" while she was visiting as a friend, not while she was on duty caring for him.
The nursing board responded that it doesn't matter when it happened, although saying there is evidence of sexual contact during nursing visits.
"The nurse is the professional in this situation. It is the responsibility of the professional to say no to the vulnerable patient," the board's attorney told Oklahoma County District Judge Patricia Parrish. "The rules ...do not mean simply while you are on shift; they mean during 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."