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Lorenza Somera's Case

Lorenza Somera is once a head nurse who was condemned in May 1929 in Manila to one year imprisonment in connection with the
death of a young girl in the operating room. She was accused of homicide through reckless imprudence. This, Somera’s case, is the most
discussed in Philippine nursing history in relation to following doctor’s order.

Below are the case facts in condensed from which was published in 1930 from the International Nursing Review and it is read as
follows:

Several days prior to May 26, 1929, Pedro Clemente took his daughter, Anastacia Clemente, to Dr. Gregorio Favis at Manila. The latter
decided to perform a tonsillectomy and instructed the father and daughter to go to St. Paul’s Hospital where he would perform the
operation at 7am on May 26, 1929.

Assisting Lorenza Somera, a Head Nurse, were student nurses Valentina Andaya and Consolacion Montinola. The assistant surgeon was
Dr. Bartolome. During the operation, Dr. Favis asked Dr. Bartholome for Novocain solution. Ms. Montinola handed Dr. Bartolome a
syringe of solution which was handed in turn to Dr. Favis who injected the same to the patient .After a few minutes, Dr. Bartolome
noticed that the patient was becoming pale and acting as if dying. He called the attention of Dr. Favis to this but the latter said it was not
unusual. A third syringe of solution was injected and a few minutes later, the patient died in a few minutes. Dr. Favis asked if the
Novocain was fresh. Ms. Somera replied that the solution was not Novocain but 10% cocaine.

In court, Ms. Montinola testified she heard Dr. Favis order cocaine with adrenalin for injection and heard Ms. Somera to have verified
the order. The autopsy report and testimony of the Medico-legal Officer showed that the patient was suffering from status lymphaticus
and that such patients were known to die even with so slight an injury as a needle-prick.

Facts not brought in the trial were 1) that Ms. Somera. Had finished her training only on May 20, 1929; 2) that she had not received her
registration certificate and was not an experienced graduate as states in the prosecution; 3) that Dr. Favis had performed tonsillectomy
but once previously in St. Paul’s and that no order from Dr. Favis was given before his arrival.

The two accused doctors were absolved of the crime but Lorenza Somera was condemned to suffer one year and one day imprisonment
and to indemnify the heirs of Anastacia Clemente the sum of P1, 000.00 with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency and to pay
one-third of costs.

In view of the recommendation of two of the justices of the supreme Court who reviewed the case upon the appeal of the counsel fo the
defense, the unanimous recommendation of the Board of Pardons, and the petition of the Philippine Nurses Association for executive
clemency.

Additional Info:

1. In 1929, in Manila, Lorenza Somera (a nurse), was found guilty of manslaughter, sentenced to a year in prison, and fined one
thousand pesos for following a physician's orders.. She was found guilty because when the doctor said cocaine instead of procaine, she
did not question his orders.
2. Nurses cannot just depend on what the doctors say; they have to know if what the doctor orders is correct.
3. Nurses have adopted the ethic of advocacy for patients
a Unfortunately hospitals don’t like having problems called to the public's attention, and give the nurses a very bad time about it.

The Legal Metaphor.

1. In 1929, in Manila, Lorenza Somera (a nurse), was found guilty of manslaughter, sentenced to a year in prison, and
fined one thousand pesos for following a physician's orders.

a. She was found guilty because when the doctor said cocaine instead of procaine, she did not question his
orders.

2. Nurses cannot just depend on what the doctors say; they have to know if what the doctor orders is correct.

3. Nurses have adopted the ethic of advocacy for patients

a. Unfortunately hospitals don’t like having problems called

to the public's attention, and give the nurses a very bad time about it.

http://hazzelcutora.blogspot.com/2008/03/lorenza-someras-case.html
This is where a nurse failed to question a doctors order and is often cited as proof of nurses’
independent accountability.
In 1929, in Manila, Lorenza Somera (a nurse), was found guilty of manslaughter, sentenced to a
year in prison, and fined one thousand pesos for following a physician's orders.
She was found guilty because when the doctor said cocaine instead of procaine, she did not
question his orders.
Nurses cannot just depend on what the doctors say; they have to know if what the doctor orders
is correct. http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20061113180652AAuDEJ5