Case Result: Nurse Referred to IPN is Vindicated After Termination Due to Disability, Discovering Hospital Altered Form

Advanced Practice Registered Nurse

Primary issue:
While working at a hospital, client advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) had a bad reaction to recently prescribed medications. The APRN immediately contacted the prescribing provider to discuss these side effects. A few days later, the hospital drug tested the APRN, which resulted in a positive result for validly prescribed anti-anxiety medications. The hospital was aware the APRN had been prescribed these medications, as the APRN had disclosed suffering from PTSD since the death of APRN’s spouse. The APRN provided the hospital with letters from the prescribing physician confirming the APRN having had a bad reaction to the increase of the dosage of the medication; that this was assessed immediately; that the offending medication was corrected; and that there are no suspicions of impairment.

APRN immediately consulted with us and we sent a letter to hospital in-house counsel to recommend that no referral to IPN was necessary in the absence of proof of impairment. The in-house counsel behaved unprofessionally, scoffing and laughing at our recommendations. The hospital placed the APRN on indefinite unpaid leave, and reported the APRN to the Department.

Client was referred to IPN. Together we rejected referral and took the case before the Florida Department of Health (DOH). We then discovered that the hospitals’ in-house counsel had taken it upon themselves to provide a letter to the DOH with a narrative of events (as they saw it). However, the letter included a copy of the chain of custody form for the drug test to our client had submitted.

We were able to quickly prove that the form had been altered. We further contended that the intentional manipulation of this form is proof of the malicious acts of the hospital: firing our client was due to our client’s disability, a way to be rid of the APRN, and was in violation of both federal and state law.

The case was dismissed without any findings.

Areas of Law:
Healthcare Licensing
Professional Licensing Defense
Substance Abuse & Impaired Practitioners

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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Sara A. Bazzigaluppi


Professional Licensing & Regulatory Affairs,

Civil Litigation

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