Case Result: Despite Negative Drug Test, Nurse Accused of Diversion When Syringes Are Found in Her Bag

Professional:
Registered Nurse

Primary issue:
Client RN was working in the ER. On the day in question, a co-worker alleged to have seen syringes in client’s work bag. When hospital staff searched her locker and work bag, they found two pre-pulled 1 mg hydromorphone syringes in her bag; the syringes were mostly empty and contained only 0.05 cc. Staff also found a syringe plunger and needle in the original package.

Client stated that she must have pulled the medicine and forgotten to waste. She claimed that she generally wastes prior to administration in a sharps container, administers the medicine, then throws the syringe away. In this case, she said she most likely put the syringe back in the back pocket of her scrubs, then, when changing, took her scrubs off and put them in her work bag, where the syringes also fell.

Client agreed to submit to a drug test, which turned out negative, but the hospital still accused her of misappropriating hospital drugs and supplies. Consequently, she was reported to the Florida Department of Health (DOH) and received a Letter of Intent for diversion, malpractice, and unprofessional conduct for misappropriating hospital supplies.

Argument:
Our Florida health care license defense attorneys denied the allegations and collected mitigation. Our attorneys believed that the DOH would have difficulty proving misappropriation if the matter went to trial, as client’s bag was not hidden and was still in the hospital. Further, we asserted, in not finding any actual discrepancies, the DOH did not have any evidence of drug diversion, and because client’s drug tests were negative, she could not be accused of impairment.

Result:
The case was presented to a Probable Cause Panel, which decided there was no probable cause to issue a formal administrative complaint. The panel dismissed the case without a finding.

Areas of Law:
Healthcare Licensing
Professional Licensing Defense
Drug Diversion
DOH & LARA Investigations & Complaints

Disclaimer:
This information is a sample of our past results. Prospective clients may not obtain the same or similar results. Every case is different and each case must be evaluated and handled on its own merits. The circumstances of your case may differ from the results provided. The information provided has not been reviewed or approved by the State Bar.

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