A medical professional was found slumped over in a patient’s room, alcohol on her breath

An Orlando respiratory therapist has had her license restricted by the Florida Department of Health after an incident in a patient’s room involving Mike’s Harder Cranberry.

The DOH dropped the Emergency Restriction Order on Yager’s license in May after, the agency says, she didn’t go into a substance abuse treatment program or begin monitoring by the impaired licensed professional program used by the department.

Before May, no disciplinary actions marred Yager’s record since she became a licensed registered respiratory therapist in February 2016. According to the restriction order, she worked at Oviedo Medical Center until Nov. 27, 2018.

That day, the Emergency Restriction Order (ERO) said, staff at the center “observed Yager walking around OMC with a canned beverage wrapped in a paper towel.”

She entered the room of a patient identified as “D.K.” for a breathing treatment and did not come out for over an hour.

“A floor nurse entered Patient D.K.’s room, where she found Yager slumped over in a chair, unresponsive,” the ERO reads. “The floor nurse was unable to wake Yager and she enlisted the help of the charge nurse to check Yager’s vitals. Upon approaching Yager, the charge nurse smelled an odor of alcohol on Yager’s breath.”

Yager got too aggressive for the nurses when they tried to measure Yager’s vital signs, so they left to find help. Yager left the facility.

In the respiratory care area’s trash can, employees found an empty 23.5-ounce can of Mike’s Harder Cranberry, which Mike’s says on its website is 8% percent alcohol. The ERO says Yager admitted it was hers and she was carrying it around during her shift.

The center fired Yager. During an evaluation by Dr. Scott Teitelbaum, Yager said went went to work after drinking on Nov. 27 because she was leaving that job anyway. And there was hardly any alcohol left in the can of Mike’s. And the incident was “a bad mistake” but she “vehemently denied a problem with alcohol.”

She stayed with that denial, the ERO said, though admitting regular drinking, “often between two to four shots of tequila,” and continuing to drink after the incident that got her fired.

Yager also didn’t want to discuss an earlier diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder from her time in the military “out of fear it would negatively affect her evaluation.”

What negatively affected her evaluation were the results of a PEth blood test. The ERO says a result of over 100 ng/ML “most likely indicates repeated binge drinking.” Yager tested 111 ng/ML.

“Dr. Teitelbaum observed that Yager exhibited significant denial regarding her alcohol use and struggled to understand the negative consequences she experienced due to it. ... Yager’s risk of continued problematic alcohol use was high, and that her continued alcohol use since the incident at OMC and just prior to her evaluation demonstrated her poor judgment and her ‘pathological attachment to alcohol.’ Teitelbaum diagnosed Ms. Yager with moderate-to-severe alcohol use disorder and PTSD.”

When Yager didn’t take the steps Teitelbaum recommended, the DOH restricted her from practicing as a respiratory therapist.

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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.