Nurses, like most medical professionals, are required to uphold several professional and ethical standards. While the specific standards change from state to state, all of them have one or more rules that govern drug distribution, theft, use, and possession. If you violate any of those rules, you run the risk of permanently losing your nursing license, which would inhibit you from working in your chosen profession. Moreover, the hospital has every right to report the incident to local - or federal - law enforcement for criminal prosecution.
Working with a professional license defense team the moment you learn of these accusations will ensure you have every opportunity to alleviate the negative consequences you might face, like losing your license or facing criminal prosecution. Call the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team today.
Florida Nurse Swaps Fentanyl for Saline
In April 2023, Catherine Shannon Dunton, a 54-year-old nurse in Florida, was accused of stealing fentanyl that was for patient use, swapping it for saline vials, and injecting herself with the fentanyl between February and April 2022. Four months later, her nursing license was suspended under an emergency order by the Florida Department of Health.
According to state records, Dunton has a history of substance abuse, and her license had been temporarily suspended in the past for testing positive for fentanyl. She also admitted to diverting other drugs when working at a different medical center in 2008.
Dunton pleaded guilty to tampering with consumer products and is facing up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Loss of Nursing License
In the case above, Dunton's nursing license was previously suspended because she was testing positive for fentanyl. The issue did not rise to the level of criminal charges until she was accused of stealing the drugs from the hospital and replacing the vials with saline. Fentanyl is used in hospitals to keep patients from moving during procedures. By swapping the vials with saline, she put patients in harm's way.
The most common reason nurses have their licenses suspended or revoked in the United States is for substance abuse issues. Having an attorney-advisor to help you negotiate with the hospital and board of nursing is crucial to protecting your license.
How a Professional Licensure Defense Team Can Help
Attorney Joseph D. Lento and Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team have worked with hundreds of professionals across the country who have been accused of violating their professional conduct standards. You've worked hard for your nursing license; you don't want to lose it over a miscommunication, false accusation, or any number of reasons because you aren't prepared sufficiently to defend yourself. Lento Law Firm can help ease that burden by helping you gather evidence and witness testimony to support your argument. Call 888-535-3686 today or schedule a consultation online.