- Associated Press - Friday, May 15, 2015

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) - The Washington state Department of Health has suspended the license of a nurse after a resident died in her care at a Bellingham nursing home.

A report from the Health Department said the investigation of Tina Brightwell began when a whistleblower contacted authorities.

Health Department spokesman Marqise Allen said the woman who died in February was in her 90s and was receiving “end-of-life care.”

Deborah Nedelcove of Avamere Health Services said Friday that Brightwell hasn’t worked for the company since February. The Whatcom County medical examiner determined the cause of death was morphine overdose and nursing medication error.

Nedelcove said Brightwell, who has been licensed as a nurse since 1980, worked for the company for about 30 years.

Whatcom County Prosecutor Dave McEachran said Friday his office is not pursuing a criminal investigation, saying the death “looks like a tragic mistake.”

Health officials said the patient died less than two months after Brightwell was placed on probation after another resident died and nursing errors were determined to be a contributing factor.

An attempt to reach Brightwell by telephone was not successful.


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