Chicago nurse was under the influence as she treated patients and stole hospital equipment, officials say

A quarterly report from the Cook County Inspector General’s office found that an emergency nurse at Stroger Hospital in Chicago was treating patients under the influence of marijuana and taking an IV solution from the hospital, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Jan. 15.

The fourth quarter 2020 report, released Jan. 15 by the office of Cook County Independent Inspector General Patrick Blanchard, said the nurse, who is not identified, took hospital equipment without permission and administered IV treatments to at least three people in their home. The person who lodged the complaint lives in a house owned by the emergency room nurse and said that she, along with her fiance and daughter, had received an intravenous injection from the nurse on several occasions. The report also alleges that the nurse took morphine in the hospital and offered to add it to the IV.

On at least one occasion, the nurse treated patients in the hospital while she was high after taking an edible made from marijuana. The report includes screenshots of text messages in which the nurse describes being elevated and fuzzy while inserting intravenous infusions into patients.

Mr. Blanchard recommended that the nurse be fired and placed on an “ineligible hiring list”.

A spokesperson for Cook County Health, the safety net health system to which Stroger belongs, said the nurse was no longer employed in their network on January 15, according to the Sun-Times report.

“Cook County Health is working diligently to create a healing environment that is the safest for our patients,” an agency spokesperson said, according to the Sun-Times. “We take all allegations seriously and have numerous safeguards in place to thoroughly investigate the cases. … The findings are extremely shocking.”

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Lillian L. Pena

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