State Reprimands Former York Correctional Nurse, Disciplines Five Others

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A former head nurse at York Correctional Institution has been reprimanded by the state Board of Examiners for Nursing for failing to properly care for an inmate who suffered a serious brain injury while in the prison medical unit in 2014.

In the Niantic prison case, the board Wednesday also placed the registered nurse license of Mary Howe of Griswold on probation for three years and barred her from working in a clinical care setting for the first two years of the probation, a consent order she signed with the board said. Howe was also ordered to take courses in ethics, delegation of nursing duties, professional nursing standards, documentation and “empathy and compassion in nursing,” the order said.

In signing the order, Howe did not contest the allegations against her but admitted no wrongdoing. In May 2017, a UConn Health spokesman said Howe no longer worked for the UConn Health unit that provided medical care in the prison.

In 2014, the inmate complained of chest pain, weakness and difficulty walking. She struggled to reach the medical unit without timely nursing assistance and fell out of a wheelchair one or more times, striking her head, the consent order said.

The order said that Howe failed to intervene when the inmate complained of chest pain and a head injury, failed to initiate an emergency code, failed to ensure the patient’s safety and failed to monitor the patient’s opioid withdrawal symptoms.

News reports have identified the former inmate as Amy Rolon, then 36, who was being held before trial on misdemeanor charges of sixth-degree larceny and failure to appear in court. She suffered a traumatic brain injury at York and filed a $7.5 million medical-neglect claim against the state Department of Correction in 2016, the Hartford Courant reported. The charges were later dismissed and she has been treated in a long-term care facility, the Courant reported.

A conservator for Rolon settled the case for $780,000 in 2017, Hartford Superior Court records show.

The board also disciplined five more nurses Wednesday, including suspending for a year the RN license of an East Hartford nurse who was convicted of striking two pedestrians in Hartford and leaving the scene of the accident while driving drunk in 2015.

The board also placed the license of the RN, Tonya Verdejo, on probation for four years, a consent order she signed said. In 2016, Verdejo was sentenced to two years in prison, the Hartford Courant reported. She pleaded guilty to second-degree assault with a motor vehicle and evading responsibility, the consent order said.

One of the women Verdejo struck had a broken leg while the other suffered two broken legs and a traumatic brain injury and required a year of rehabilitation, the Courant reported.

While in prison, Verdejo completed a substance abuse program and has had several negative urine tests since her release in November, DPH records show.

Wednesday, the board fined an RN from East Windsor $7,500 for inappropriately performing medical services at the spa she owns in West Hartford.

The board also imposed the fine on Nilce Conti for inappropriately tattooing clients at the Nelson Salon & Spa from 2014 to 2016, state Department of Public Health (DPH) records show.

Conti inappropriately administered injections of Botox and Restylane, a facial filler, and permitted an unlicensed person to administer both types of injections at the spa, a consent order she agreed to said.

The board ordered Conti to cease and desist the unlicensed practice of medicine, placed her license on probation for six months and ordered her to take a course in the scope of practice of an RN. Conti chose not to contest the allegations but admitted no wrongdoing in the consent order.

The board also revoked the RN license of Lori Riley of Sharon, saying she has not complied with the terms of a 2017 probation. Her license was placed on probation for two years because, state records show, she took a painkiller meant for a patient and replaced it with Tylenol while working for All About You Homecare in Torrington.

The nursing board also found that in 2014, Riley abused Percocet, Oxycodone and Vicodin, records show.

The board suspended the license of Jeannette Czaja, a licensed practical nurse from the Higganum section of Haddam, saying she posed a danger to the public. Czaja has been fired from three nursing homes, Touchpoints at Manchester, The Hearth at Tuxis Pond in Madison and Wadsworth Glen Health Care Center in Middletown, due to medication errors or the suspected theft of controlled substances, DPH records show.

In 2016, she failed to document the administration of medication to patients at Wadsworth Glen, the statement of charges against her said. In 2017, while working at The Hearth, she failed to properly document the waste of a patient’s methadone, the statement said. Later in 2017, at Touchpoints, she failed to appropriately document medication and provided a Tylenol to a patient instead of Percocet.

The board imposed a four-year probation on Nicole Miller, an LPN from West Hartford, that requires her to undergo random drug and alcohol tests and bars her from having access to narcotics for one year, records show. Miller chose not to contest allegations that in 2016 and 2017, she abused alcohol and/or opiates to excess, a consent order she signed with the board said.

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