Connecticut Nursing Board Recommends Disciplining Nurse Following Baby’s Death

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The state Board of Examiners for Nursing has recommended disciplining an East Hartford nurse for her actions when a 13-month-old girl she was caring for in Manchester stopped breathing and died in 2014.

A June 14 investigative report concluded that licensed practical nurse Shirley A. Powell failed to provide rescue breathing and CPR when the girl’s tracheotomy tube became dislodged.

The report, by Helen M. Centeno, a nurse consultant for the state Department of Public Health, also found that Powell failed to safeguard the girl by not having a direct view of her in the playpen in the child’s home on the day of the death, Aug. 15, 2014. Manchester police concluded that Powell left the girl out of her line of sight for 3 to 15 minutes and during that time, the tube became dislodged, the report said.

Powell had the girl’s brother call 911 but she did not follow emergency procedures, the report said. Emergency responders performed CPR, but the girl then died at a hospital, the report said.

The nursing board recommended the discipline Wednesday. The sanctions could include probation, a reprimand, restrictions on her nursing practice or a requirement that she take additional nursing courses, a DPH official said. No final decision was made because DPH attorneys will now negotiate a resolution with Powell.

Through her Waterbury attorney Kristin Connors, Powell has denied the allegations, saying she monitored the child in the playpen and tried to re-insert the tracheotomy tube, Centeno’s report said. Powell admitted that she did not attempt CPR but denied that she failed to follow standard procedures that day, the report said. Connors declined to comment Thursday.

Powell had cared for the girl once a week in the home for seven months, records show. The child’s mother filed a complaint with DPH in February, 2015, and a prosecutor decided not to file criminal charges against Powell, the investigative report said.

In unrelated action Wednesday, the board disciplined two nurses.

It suspended the nursing license of Presley Eze, an LPN from West Hartford, for testing positive for cocaine this summer while on a four-year probation, records show.

In 2011, Eze was high on PCP when he brandished a long sword outside the Trader Joe’s store in West Hartford, records show. He was arrested four times since then, but the board concluded in March that he had been maintaining sobriety sufficiently that he was now safe to practice nursing again.

As part of the probation the board imposed, Eze had to undergo drug and alcohol testing. His attorney, Richard Brown of Hartford, said at the time that Eze was never accused of harming a patient but knew if he failed another drug test, his license would be in jeopardy.

The board also placed the advanced practice registered nurse license of Lindsay Wayman from Naugatuck on probation for two years. In June, Wayman had her registered nurse license placed on a two-year probation under a consent order that said that while working as a nurse at Waterbury Hospital in 2008, Wayman abused alcohol, marijuana and/or opiates to excess and was unable to perform her duties as a nurse. She recently applied for the APRN license.health logo

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