Five nurses have been disciplined by the state Board of Examiners for Nursing for misconduct ranging from sleeping on the job to abusing heroin or stealing from patients. The board last Wednesday suspended the registered nursing license of Adrian Kozikowski of New Britain because, state records show, he left a shift in July at Autumn Lake Healthcare in New Britain and fell asleep or lost consciousness due to drug use. Between April and July, he abused alcohol, marijuana and Ecstacy, records show, so the state Department of Public Health concluded his practice as a nurse posed a “clear and immediate danger” to the public. The board also suspended the license of Lisa Fabrizio, an RN from Monroe after concluding that she posed a danger as well. While working at Lighthouse Home Healthcare in Old Saybrook, she took property from the home and residents between March and May, records show.
The state Medical Examining Board Tuesday fined two doctors for inappropriately prescribing drugs and rejected a New Haven doctor’s $5,000 fine, saying it was too lenient. The board fined Dr. Jeffrey S. Miller of Torrington $5,000 and reprimanded him. A consent order said that for several years, he prescribed hydrocodone with acetaminophen for two of his wife’s relatives without having a doctor-patient relationship with them. The order also said that Miller permitted his wife to purchase the drugs in Connecticut and mail them to her relatives. Miller chose not to contest the allegations and told the board, “I admit the foolishness.”
The board fined Dr. Robert Dresdner of Wilton $3,000 and reprimanded him for inappropriately prescribing narcotics to two patients without adequately examining them or documenting their treatment in 2014.
State health officials have fined five nursing homes at least $1,500 each in connection with residents who were abused or injured and one who died in July after being outside in sweltering heat for hours. On Aug. 10, Gardner Heights Health Care Center in Shelton was fined $3,000 in connection with a resident who died after being outside in a garden for more than three hours on July 27 in 95-degree weather, according to the state Department of Public Health (DPH) citation. The resident, who frequently sat in the garden, was in good condition at 2:30 p.m. that day but at 5 p.m., was found to be unresponsive and died about 40 minutes later, the citation said. A review of video at the home could not substantiate that the resident had been checked by staff between 2:30 and 5 p.m., the citation said.
Five Connecticut facilities have won national quality awards and a West Hartford nursing home is one of only three homes in the U.S. to receive the highest level of recognition from the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living. Hughes Health and Rehabilitation Center in West Hartford, which was started 55 years ago by Dr. Eugene Flaxman and is still owned by him, won the Gold Quality Award. Nationally, only 31 nursing homes have gained the distinction and before this, Manchester Manor Health Care Center and Glen Hill Center in Danbury were the only Connecticut homes to reach the gold level, Matthew V. Barrett, president and CEO of the Connecticut Association of Health Care Facilities, said in a press release. Touchpoints at Manchester received a Silver Quality Award, and three Connecticut facilities, Arbors of Hop Brook in Manchester, Lutheran Home of Southbury and Brighton Gardens of Stamford, received the Bronze Quality Award this year. Mark Finkelstein, the administrator and vice president at Hughes Health, said winning the award was years in the making.
The state Board of Examiners for Nursing today disciplined five nurses for misconduct, including four whose cases involved drugs or alcohol. After a hearing today, the board revoked the license of Danielle Dragon, a licensed practical nurse from Bristol, who was accused of crushing a pill that she said was Oxycodone but which was tested and found to be Tylenol. In April, the board had placed her license on probation for one year, and earlier this month, it had suspended her license while she awaited the hearing because, records show, she has failed to submit to drug tests. Dragon did not attend the hearing, so the board deemed that she had admitted to the charges against her. The board voted to suspend the license of Cherish Ostrosky, a registered nurse from Oxford, who was arrested during a traffic stop in Monroe May 19, record show.
Five technical high school programs that prepare students to become licensed practical nurses have stopped taking applications for new students as state officials are debating their future. While no decision has been made to close the programs, Ed Leavy, president of the State Vocational Federation of Teachers, said administrators have been told to stop accepting new students who would have started class in January. “I am obviously concerned about the future of these programs,” he said. “We think these programs are too important to eliminate.”
Leavy said his union will lobby legislators to save the programs, if need be, because they are affordable programs that set people on a solid career path. The union represents about 25 LPN teachers and department heads.
The state Board of Examiners for Nursing disciplined seven nurses Wednesday and reinstated the licenses of two nurses who had histories of drug abuse. The board reinstated the license of Sara Kaiser of Cromwell, a licensed practical nurse whose license was revoked in 2010 because of her abuse of heroin and morphine in 2009. In 2009, the board had placed her license on probation for four years after she admitted stealing Seroquel, a drug used to treat mood disorders, while working at the Elm Hill Nursing Center in Rocky Hill in 2007, records show. State records show she also admitted failing to accurately document medical records and abusing heroin and cocaine from 2002 to 2007. At a hearing in July, Kaiser presented testimony on her sobriety and that she was safe to practice as a nurse.
Three nursing homes have been fined more than $1,500 each by the state Department of Public Health in connection with residents who fell, broke bones or received the wrong medication. On June 21, Pilgrim Manor of Cromwell was fined $1,930 in connection with three residents who were hospitalized with injuries. One resident suffered a broken hip while being moved that required hospitalization on Dec. 28, DPH’s citation said. The state found that the home failed to complete a thorough assessment when the resident complained of pain and could not bear weight on a leg.
Four nursing homes have been fined by the state in connection with residents who broke bones, required surgery or wandered away. In two separate citations on April 8, Cassena Care at Norwalk was fined a total of $5,370 for a case in which a now former director of nursing blocked a resident from going to the hospital to maintain the resident count at the home, state records show. A day after the incident, on Oct. 10, the resident needed emergency cranial surgery and then was placed in hospice care, a citation from the state Department of Public Health said. DPH officials did not have information on whether the resident had died, department spokeswoman Maura Downes said.
The state Medical Examining Board on Tuesday disciplined six doctors, including fining a Norwalk doctor $5,000 for prescribing high doses of opioids to a prison inmate and other patients without proper safeguards. The board also suspended the license of a family medicine physician from Westport, saying his excessive drinking of alcohol presents a “clear and immediate danger” to the public. In the Norwalk case, the board also reprimanded Dr. Martin Perlin and limited his ability to prescribe painkillers. Between 2013 and 2015, Perlin prescribed high doses of opioids without adhering to standard safeguards, state Department of Public Health records show. One of the patients was incarcerated during the time that Perlin prescribed drugs for him, the records show.