The state Board of Examiners for Nursing last week suspended the licenses of two licensed practical nurses (LPN) and disciplined four other nurses. The LPN license of Melissa A. Eccles of Norwich was suspended last Wednesday pending a hearing for failing to respond to a court-ordered substance abuse evaluation. Eccles was initially ordered to undergo a substance abuse evaluation by the state Department of Public Health (DPH) in June 2018. When she failed to do so, the case went to court, and in July 2019 she was ordered to undergo the evaluation. In suspending her license prior to a hearing on her case, the state nursing board found that her continued practice as a nurse represents a “clear and immediate danger” to the public health and safety.
The state Board of Examiners for Nursing on Wednesday revoked the licenses of three nurses and disciplined six others, mostly for alcohol and drug abuse violations. The board revoked the registered nurse (RN) license of Kathryn Y. Ford of Wilton after finding that her continued practice as a nurse posed a threat to public safety, according to a memorandum of decision. Ford’s license had previously been suspended for using marijuana, cocaine and heroin to excess from January 2017 to August 2018. The licensed practical nurse (LPN) license of Presley Eze of West Hartford, who has a long history of disciplinary actions, was also revoked. State records show that Eze was high on PCP in 2011 when he brandished a sword outside the Trader Joe’s store in West Hartford, and he has been arrested four times since then, records show.
The Board of Examiners for Nursing on Wednesday revoked the licenses of three nurses and disciplined six others. The board revoked the registered nurse (RN) license of Charlene Zikaras of Milford for continuing to practice as a nurse after being told to stop by the state. Zikaras, who worked at the Stamford Ambulatory Surgical Center, had her license placed on probation for four years in December 2018 for alcohol abuse and was required to submit urine screens. On April 22, Zikaras’ urine tested positive for alcohol and on May 3 she was told to refrain from working as a nurse. Zikaras went to work on May 8, the Department of Public Health (DPH) reported.
The Board of Examiners for Nursing this month disciplined five nurses, including two registered nurses who stole drugs meant for patients and took them for their own use. Meeting in Hartford on April 17, the board imposed a four-year probation on the registered nurse license of Kerry Donlon of the Oakville section of Watertown, who stole the opioid painkiller Hydromorphone for her own use while working as a nurse at Yale New Haven Hospital in 2016, a consent order she agreed to said. Donlon also took allergy medicine and medicine for muscle spasms for her own use while working as a nurse at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport in 2018, the order said. She used all three drugs to excess, the order said.
The state Board of Examiners for Nursing on today suspended the licenses of two registered nurses, saying their abuse of alcohol poses a danger to the public. The first nurse, Laura Kisatsky of Cornwall, abused alcohol in December, in violation of a consent order she agreed to in 2014. In July, state Department of Public Health (DPH) officials had told the board that Kisatsky’s use of morphine endangered the public. Those charges are pending. In 2005, Kisatsky had voluntarily surrendered her license after admitting stealing controlled substances while working as a nurse at Yale New Haven Hospital, records show.
A nurse at Avon Old Farms School was fined $5,000 today by the state Board of Examiners for Nursing for inappropriately prescribing controlled substances to herself, family members and friends 42 times. Lenore Leone of Avon, an advanced practice registered nurse, who works at the private school under her married name, Lenore Severni, prescribed the drugs for herself and seven friends and relatives from 2014 to 2017, a consent order she agreed to said. The board also reprimanded her license. From 1992 to 2017, Leone also practiced and prescribed controlled substances without having a collaboration agreement with a doctor, as state law requires, the order said. Under the order, Leone must enter into an agreement with a doctor.
State nursing regulators have ordered two former licensed practical nurses to take a refresher course before they can get their licenses back following disciplinary action. But there’s a problem: the only LPN refresher course approved by the state Department of Public Health won’t accept anyone with an active disciplinary order. One of the nurses, Heather Delaney of Oxford, says she has beaten the addiction to the anti-anxiety drug Klonopin that caused her to alter a prescription in 2010 and can safely return to nursing. She agreed to a consent order with the state Board of Examiners for Nursing in 2016, only to be turned down by the approved program, at South Dakota State University, because of the order. Delaney was one of two nurses featured in a January 2018 C-HIT article on nurses and addiction.
The state Board of Examiners for Nursing this week disciplined three nurses, including suspending the license of a Stamford Hospital nurse accused of stealing Dilaudid meant for 21 patients. The registered nurse, Kerrisha Stacy-Ann Hurd of Elmont, New York, took the painkillers meant for the patients but did not administer the doses to them between January and March while she worked in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit of the hospital, state records show. In March, she fainted while on the job, and a syringe with a bloody needle was found in her uniform pocket, records show. Then on April 26, she admitted that she gave herself a shot of Dilaudid while working, records show. She was taken to the emergency room and tested positive for opiates, records show.
A psychiatric nurse from Durham who lost a $4.2 million malpractice decision in 2016 in connection with her care of a patient who committed suicide was reprimanded Wednesday by the state Board of Examiners for Nursing. The board also placed the advanced practice registered nurse license of Catherine Florio, who treated the patient in 2009 at Harbor Health Services in Branford, on probation for six months, during which she must complete courses on the management of patients with depression or anxiety or who are considering suicide, according to a consent order Florio agreed to with the board. Florio must also complete a course on managing patients who are withdrawing from benzodiazepines, a class of drugs used to treat anxiety. In 2016, a New Haven Superior Court jury found Florio 35 percent responsible for the death of Alan Jarecki, a 55-year-old house painter from Madison who was admitted to Yale New Haven Hospital because he was considering suicide, the Connecticut Law Tribune reported. The jury found the hospital 65 percent liable for the death, but the hospital had previously settled the lawsuit with Jarecki’s family, the Law Tribune reported.
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.