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  1. #1
    los2188's Avatar
    los2188 is offline North Carolina Tar Heels..your NCCA Champs!!
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    May 2012
    From Alaska, but living in Arizona

    PA - Nurse Accused of Helping with Surgery While Drunk

    Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania -


    A nurse is charged with being drunk while assisting on an emergency surgery at the VA Medical Center near Wilkes-Barre.

    He admits he was at a casino drinking when he was called into work.

    It was a little before midnight on February 4 when on-call nurse Richard Pieri of Drums got called to the VA Medical Center near Wilkes-Barre for an emergency surgery.

    Police say there's video of him stumbling through the parking lot before he headed inside and helped with an emergency appendectomy.

    Court papers say Pieri wasn't acting himself that night, had trouble logging into a basic computer system, didn't log the time of the operation correctly, and showed other signs, too.

    A coworker anonymously reported him.

    "Patient safety is paramount. We want to be sure our patients are safe. As soon as we were notified of the event, we made sure there were no unsafe situations for our patients and then we did the further investigations," said VA Medical Center executive assistant to director William Klaips.

    Veterans Affairs police interviewed Pieri. According to court papers, he told them he had four or five beers while playing slots at the nearby Mohegan Sun Casino. He had just gotten home when he got paged to come in.

    He was responsible for preparing the patient, preparing the material in the operating room, and monitoring that patient's vital signs during surgery.

    Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    The anesthesiologist/anesthetist is actually the one most responsible for monitoring vitals.

    But this guy is an irresponsible jerk. You don't drink when you're on call. I'm surprised no one confronted him on the spot. When I worked ICU, one of the nurses giving report to an oncoming nurse smelled alcohol on her breath. She went straight to the phone and called the Nursing Supervisor, and the wheels for getting this nurse off the floor and reported to the appropriate entities began to turn immediately.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    San Fransokyo, CA

    PA - Nurse Accused of Helping with Surgery While Drunk

    IME, RNs typically assist as "circulating nurses" and are not "scrub nurses" per se. In many instances, they have been replaced (due to labor costs, among other things). This position is often filled by surgical (scrub) techs. This role is "sterile" and STs handle instrumentation, sponges, etc. Circulating RNs are responsible for verifying patient identity, transport, pre-op work-ups, medications, etc. They are outside the sterile field (non-sterile).

    Regardless, there is NO room for such behavior! A "circulator" can contaminate the sterile field, or jeopardize patient safety (as can anyone in the surgical suite), which is one of the many reasons why surgery is such a high-stress environment.

    I can't imagine operating in this realm under the influence!
    I went to surgical tech school and completed my studies and clinical rotation (I got injured transferring a patient 2 weeks before graduation. My attempt to "get a day job" failed!)

    Hoping this faces serious consequences! His licensure should be on the line (ad minimum).

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    I work in an elective plastic surgery OR. I'm a circulating RN, and we use an RNFA (RN First Assistant), who is the scrub nurse. In addition to the above mentioned responsibilities, I also "prep" the patient's body for surgery. I have to be ready to retrieve any supplies the surgeon and RNFA need and open them in such a way as to preserve the sterile field. In my facility, I also recover the patient after surgery. This could include administering IV medications.

    There are a whole lot of ways a circulating RN could cause problems during a surgery. I just cannot fathom drinking while on call, much less actually reporting in and trying to fool anyone or perform my duties while not completely sharp. SMH...

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