Health Care

A nurse lay unconscious on a Jackson Memorial restroom floor. Her license was restricted

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A registered nurse has had her license restricted by the Florida Department of Health after an investigation that began with her unconscious on the floor of a Jackson Memorial Hospital restroom last June.

Maria Hernandez’s address registered with the Department of Health is in Cape Coral in Southwest Florida. The DOH’s emergency restriction order (ERO) says she was working at Jackson in Miami through MedPro Healthcare Staffing, a healthcare staffing agency, when she was assigned to a 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift on June 28, 2018.

“At approximately 9:00 p.m., Ms. Hernandez was found lying unconscious on the floor of a restroom by JMH medical staff and was transported to the. emergency room,” the ERO says.

After she awoke in the emergency room, she was described as “confused and disoriented and she could not remember what had happened to her.”

The ERO says “While medical staff evaluated Ms. Hernandez, they observed a bottle of vodka in her handbag.”

She was given a blood test that measured serum ethanol levels. A measurement of 92 milligrams per deciliter equals 0.08, the blood alcohol level for driving under the influence in Florida. Hernandez’s measurement, according to the ERO: 296 mg/dl. Diagnosis: alcohol use, acute alcohol intoxication and fainting.

Instead of agreeing to a drug screening by MedPro, the restriction order says, Hernandez resigned from the company. She had to go through a DOH-ordered evaluation with Dr. Zaheer Aslam, an addiction psychiatry specialist.

“Dr. Aslam noted that Ms. Hernandez was vague in describing the quantity and frequency of her alcohol consumption, and that she exhibited poor judgment and insight regarding her alcohol use and its consequences,” the ERO says.

She also didn’t get drug screenings or give Aslam “collateral information,” though she was reminded several times to do both. Aslam said Hernandez has “alcohol use disorer, moderate” and recommended a monitoring program with the Intervention Project for Nurses, a Board of Nursing program that monitors nurses with substance use problems.

The ERO says Hernandez is “restricted ... from practicing as a nurse until IPN or an IPN-approved evaluator notifies the Department that she is safe to resume the practice of nursing.”

Florence “SeeSee” Rigney, believed to be the oldest registered nurse, turned 94 Wednesday. Her co-workers honored her with a ceremony at Tacoma General Hospital.

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Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.


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