2022Drug Testing

Written By Digital Content Editor Thomas Ahearn

A hospital in Iowa was cited by the state for hiring a nurse without a full background check who was later fired for the suspected theft of Fentanyl – a powerful opioid used to treat severe pain – on two separate occasions, according to a report from the Iowa Capital Dispatch, an independent and nonprofit source for journalism.

The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals reported that a registered nurse working at the hospital in January 2022 obtained a 100-microgram vial of Fentanyl for a patient with no physician order and reported disposing of the medication later without giving any of it to the patient, the Iowa Capital Dispatch reported.

The same nurse obtained another 100-microgram vial of Fentanyl 12 days later for a different patient who had no physician order for the drug but hospital records indicate that patient never received the Fentanyl, the Iowa Capital Dispatch reported. A single dose of Fentanyl is considered to be between 20 to 50 micrograms.

Although the nurse was later fired, the hospital failed to report the incidents as potential acts of dependent adult abuse, according to state inspectors, who also reviewed the hiring process used to employ the nurse and found the hospital failed to conduct a complete background check, the Iowa Capital Dispatch reported.

The background check revealed the nurse had two criminal convictions but did not indicate how serious the crimes were and the hospital failed to secure the required state approval before hiring her. The hospital also failed to check if the nurse had any non-criminal findings of abuse or was on the state’s Sex Offender Registry.

“Although the state has cited the hospital for two regulatory violations related to patient abuse and employee background checks, no fines or penalties have been imposed. Under Iowa law, hospitals are not subject to state fines for regulatory violations.” The complete report from Iowa Capital Dispatch is available here.

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