Case Result: RN Reported to Department of Health After False Accusation Has Case Dismissed

Professional:
Registered Nurse (RN)

Primary issue:
A RN found an empty bottle of alcohol while working and reported it to their Director of Nursing (DON). A coworker, who did not get along with the RN, accused the RN of being the likely culprit of drinking on the job. The RN suspected the coworker was trying to get her fired and explained to her employer that she was just tired from working double shifts. Offended by the accusation, the RN refused to submit to a urine test and breathalyzer and was reported to the Florida Department of Health (FLDOH), which issued an Orders Compelling Examination (OCE). The doctor referred by FLDOH had a clear conflict of interest.

Argument:
We argued that there was an insufficient basis for the OCE and that the choice of evaluator was improper. Despite attending the OCE, we contacted the prosecutor and presented a draft of an appellate brief, arguing that the OCE was a violation of the RN’s due process rights. We explained that we would fight any formal charges all the way to the District Court of Appeal (DCA) if necessary.

Result:
The FLDOH heard us loud and clear, and the case was dismissed without any further actions. Our client was now exonerated from her false accusation which led to her being reported to the Department of Health in the first place.

If You Are Facing A Similar Issue:
If you are a licensed health care professional and you are accused of impairment, you should call defense counsel as soon as possible. Employers must take impairment allegations seriously no matter where the allegations come from. Often impairment allegations lead to being reported to the Department of Health, and subsequent referrals even in the absence of a positive drug/alcohol screening. A licensing defense attorney can potentially help prevent FLDOH reporting and get the case dismissed

Areas of Law:
Department of Health Investigations
Nursing License Defense Law
Orders Compelling Examinations
Administrative Complaints

Attorney:
Sara A. Bazzigaluppi

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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