State Suspends Two Nursing Licenses, Disciplines Four Others

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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 LPN license of Rene Cottrill of Portland was suspended for three months, and placed on probation for four years, for failing to comply with the terms of a June 2019 consent order, which required Cottrill to undergo random weekly drug testing and therapy. Cottrill was disciplined for abuse of benzodiazepines, marijuana and alcohol. Cottrill told the board she had relapsed and used methadone, alcohol, and buprenorphine in July and August.

After a hearing, the RN license of Amanda Claffey of Newington was removed from suspension and placed on probation for four years for drug abuse. According to her signed consent order, while working as a nurse at Hartford Hospital, between January 2017 and January 2018 Claffey diverted hydromorphone, OxyContin and clonidine for her personal use, and used marijuana on Feb. 14, 2018. In April 2018 Claffey was diagnosed with severe opioid and cannabis use disorder. While working as a nurse at Bristol Hospital in January 2019, Claffey admitted diverting morphine for her personal use. Under the terms of her probation, Claffey must attend therapy, submit random drug tests, and is limited in the scope of her practice during probation.

The board placed on probation for four years the RN license of Patricia Fryer of New Haven. In her signed consent order, Fryer admitted abusing marijuana and cocaine in the fall of 2017 and again on June 12, 2019. During her probation she must undergo random drug tests, attend therapy, and cannot work as a pool nurse, in home health care, or be self-employed.

The RN license of Kathryn Lovejoy of New Haven was placed on probation for four years, following a hearing. The board had suspended Lovejoy’s license in August after it found her severe alcohol use disorder, as well as multiple emotional and substance abuse disorders, represented a “clear and immediate danger” to the public health and safety. Lovejoy entered a rehabilitation program in March 2018 and was required to submit to random urine screens and breathalyzer tests, records show. In June 2019 the rehabilitation center referred Lovejoy’s case to DPH after she used alcohol and failed to comply with urine tests, stating “they were unable to confirm [whether Lovejoy was] … fit to practice [nursing],” according to records.

Lovejoy must undergo random drug testing, attend therapy for the four years of her probation.

The board also placed on probation for one year and reprimanded the advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) license of Armand Ntchana of Glastonbury, after receiving a complaint from a patient’s sibling. According to his consent order, Ntchana failed to practice in collaboration with a physician as required by law during the first three years after receiving his APRN license; and failed to document working in collaboration with a physician. His probation includes coursework in advanced-level nursing scope of practice; documentation that he is practicing as an APRN in collaboration with a physician; and quarterly written reports from that physician.

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