Chicago nurse was under the influence while treating patients, stole hospital equipment, officials say

A quarterly report from the Cook County inspector general's office found an emergency room nurse at Chicago-based Stroger Hospital treated patients while under the influence of marijuana and took IV solution from the hospital, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Jan. 15. 

The fourth-quarter 2020 report, released Jan. 15 from Cook County Independent Inspector General Patrick Blanchard's office, said the nurse, who is not identified, took hospital equipment without permission and administered IV treatments to at least three people at their homes. The person who raised the complaint lives in a home owned by the ER nurse, and said she, along with her fiance and daughter, received an IV flush from the nurse on multiple occasions. The report also alleges the nurse took morphine from the hospital and offered to add it into the IV. 

On at least one occasion, the nurse treated patients at the hospital while high after taking a marijuana edible. The report includes screenshots of text messages where the nurse describes being high and unfocused while inserting IVs into patients. 

Mr. Blanchard recommended the nurse be terminated and be placed on an "ineligible hire list." 

A spokesperson for Cook County Health, the safety-net health system Stroger belongs to, said the nurse was no longer employed in their network Jan. 15, according to the Sun-Times report. 

"Cook County Health works diligently to create a healing environment that is safest for our patients," an agency spokesperson said, according to the Sun-Times. "We take any allegations seriously and have many safeguards in place to thoroughly investigate matters. … The findings are extremely upsetting." 

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