License suspended for Bellingham nurse after patient death

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — The 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 says the investigation of Tina Brightwell began when a whistleblower contacted the authorities.

Health Department spokesman Marqise Allen says the woman who died in February was in her 90s and was receiving "end-of-life care" at the facility.

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

Health officials say 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.