The Board of Examiners for Nursing on Wednesday disciplined five nurses while dropping the charges against an Ansonia nurse because he is now serving 60 years in prison for an unrelated felony murder.
The charges were dropped against Jermaine V. Richards, a former licensed practical nurse from Ansonia, because he was convicted in March of the felony murder of his ex-girlfriend, an Eastern Connecticut State University student, in 2013.
Since Richards’ nursing license lapsed in 2016 and is now serving a long sentence for murdering Alyssiah Wiley, 20, of West Haven, the prosecution of administrative charges against him is unnecessary, an attorney for the state Department of Public Health told the board.
In charges unrelated to the murder, Richards had been accused of being involved in a fight with a visitor in the home of one of his patients. In June 2017, the board revoked his nursing license because of the fight and after concluding that he slept while on duty at a patient’s home, but a month later, the board vacated the revocation because Richards had asked for a continuance.
On Wednesday, the board revoked the licensed practical nursing license of Jennifer Ressa of Danbury after finding she took 50 tablets of oxycodone meant for patients while working at Geer Village in Canaan in 2017, its memorandum of decision states.
In 2017, Ressa also abused alcohol to excess and was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated in March 2017, the memo said. State court records show that in May of that year, Ressa received 18 months of probation and a six-month suspended jail sentence. The board concluded that Ressa’s abuse of alcohol affects her ability to safely practice as an LPN, its memo states.
The board also suspended the licenses of three nurses, saying their practice poses a danger to the public. They are:
• Linda S. Greenhill, a registered nurse from Ansonia, who has been accused of abusing morphine, Demerol and Dilaudid to excess from April 2017 to March 2018 while working as a registered nurse at Griffin Hospital in Derby, the statement of charges against her said. She has also been accused of stealing those drugs from the hospital and falsifying controlled substance records, the statement said.
• Joshua Klies, an LPN from Winsted, who was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol in 2017, state records show. He has since tested positive for alcohol while enrolled in the Health Assistance InterVention Education Network, or HAVEN, an alternative program that allows health professionals to avoid disciplinary action by the state while complying with treatment and substance abuse testing. In March, the HAVEN program reported to DPH that Klies was also working as an LPN at the Oak Hill group home in Hartford without prior approval to work as a nurse, records show.
• Dianne Powers, an RN and an advanced practice registered nurse from Bloomfield, who state records say has a prolonged history of alcohol abuse. Powers had completed the HAVEN program in 2016 but has since tested positive for alcohol, state records show.
The board also placed the LPN license of Cynthia Riley of Danbury on probation for two years in connection with her license being revoked in Massachusetts in 2017. In 2016, while working at Concord Healthcare in Concord, Massachusetts, Riley transferred funds from a patient’s bank account to her own and used the money to pay her bills and to make a payment to an account associated with her boyfriend, a consent order she signed with the Connecticut board said.
Riley also faced criminal charges in Massachusetts, which resulted in a “continuance without a finding” ruling in 2017 on charges of identity fraud and larceny by single scheme, the consent order said. She was placed on probation for a year. In signing the consent order, Riley did not contest the charges against her before the Connecticut board.
The board rejected a reprimand on the RN license of Gregory Coyle of Ansonia, who in 2017 while working for All About You Home Care Services, failed to appear for scheduled home care visits for a patient and failed to administer medication to the patient, a consent order he signed said. He also falsified medication records, the order said. Coyle has completed courses in documentation standards, ethics and patient rights. In signing the order, Coyle chose not to contest the charges while admitting no wrongdoing.
Patricia C. Bouffard, chairwoman of the board, said a reprimand was too lenient.
“This is fraud,’’ she said. “He put patients’ lives in danger.”
Board members said they would like to see Coyle receive at least a two-year probation with other restrictions, so the case is likely to come back before the board at a future meeting.