Suspended Edgemoor Nurse Lauded

Times Staff Writer

A supervising nurse who labor union officials say has been made the scapegoat for many of the county’s problems at Edgemoor Geriatric Hospital won more praise Tuesday from a key superior.

Gertrude Shaw, who is fighting an eight-week suspension handed down after a patient in one of her wards drowned in a bathtub, was described as “very competent” by Dr. William Bailey, the hospital’s medical director.

Bailey testified that he did not think Shaw violated procedures Dec. 10 when paramedics rushed to the hospital to treat 66-year-old Josephine Noonan, a partly paralyzed woman who suffered a cardiac arrest after she was left unattended in a bathtub and slipped under water.

Shaw has been accused by Health Services Department Director James Forde of trying to cover up for the nurses’ assistant who left Noonan alone that morning. Among other charges, the department alleges that Shaw should have come forward to tell paramedics treating Noonan that she may have been a drowning victim.


But Bailey, under questioning from union representative Pat Vetere, said he never asked Shaw what led to Noonan’s heart failure. Bailey also said that he, like Shaw, moved away from the scene to allow paramedics room to work on the victim.

Bailey and El Cajon paramedic David Richardson testified that Noonan’s treatment would not have been different had they been told that the woman had been found with her face under water.

“In your professional opinion as a doctor, do you believe any of the nurses out there violated any procedures?” Vetere asked Bailey about the situation once paramedics arrived.

“I don’t think so,” he replied.


Vetere is trying to prove in the ongoing hearing that Shaw is wrongly being held responsible for the actions of Alverta (Pearl) Martin, a former nurses’ assistant.

Martin, who left Noonan in the tub to go search for a comb in another room, testified last week that Shaw told her not to say that she had left the patient alone.