As cases of COVID-19 surged throughout Connecticut and the nation, “a perfect storm” of circumstances rendered nursing homes unable to handle the crisis, hastening the virus’ spread and deaths, experts say. “It’s just kind of this perfect storm. It’s just the nature of the beast. This is the worst situation for a virus like this,” said Dr. David Hill, professor of medical science and director of global public health at Quinnipiac University Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine. Indeed, nursing homes care for an extremely frail population, many with underlying health conditions.
The state Board of Examiners for Nursing has revoked the licenses of four nurses and disciplined eight other nurses, with all but one of the cases connected to alcohol or drug abuse. Meeting in Hartford on Wednesday, June 15, the board revoked the license of Leslie Matejek, a registered nurse from Derby, after she tested positive for cocaine three times in 2015, the board’s memorandum of decision said. The memo shows that in 2010 Matejek’s license was placed on probation for four years after she admitted falsifying a prescription for Oxycontin. According to the memo, she tested positive for oxycodone three times in 2010 and morphine twice in 2011. Her probation was later extended to February of this year, with weekly random drug tests.