top of page

Nursing License Revoked

From the Iowa Capital Dispatch--

The Iowa Board of Nursing has revoked the license of a nurse accused of stealing patient medications, being under the influence at work and falsifying records.

On Oct. 11, 2023, the Board of Nursing charged Maria Palmerin Vega with misappropriating medications, practicing nursing while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and falsifying records related to the practice of nursing.

The charges are based on conduct that allegedly took place in 2023 when Vega was working as a temp-agency nurse employed by Fusion Staff Solutions to work at the Edgewood Convalescent Home in Delaware County.

The board has alleged that in January 2023, within 10 days of beginning her assignment at Edgewood, Vega worked an overnight shift at the home and was observed going to her car in the facility’s parking lot at 12:45 a.m. A half-hour later, she was reportedly found unresponsive in the lobby of the care facility.

When emergency medical personnel arrived at the home, Vega was unconscious and gasping for air with a weak pulse, the board alleges. She was then given two doses of Narcan to reverse the effects of a suspected opioid overdose and was taken to a hospital for further treatment.

According to the board, a hospital drug screen reportedly showed the presence of benzodiazepines, marijuana and opiates in Vega’s system. In a subsequent interview with a Delaware County deputy, Vega allegedly stated she had taken hydrocodone for a toothache along with anxiety medication, and said she used marijuana about a week earlier.

The staff at the Edgewood home later found that a resident’s fentanyl — a powerful narcotic painkiller often delivered through a patch applied to the skin — was missing. On the floor of the staff breakroom, workers found two fentanyl patches that allegedly belonged to residents in Vega’s care. They also determined that someone had swapped another resident’s supply of prescription medications for Tylenol.

When interviewed again by a country deputy, Vega denied taking the residents’ narcotics medications and was at a loss to explain the opioids in her system, according to the board.

In January, the Board of Nursing conducted a hearing on the charges. With regard to the drugs swapped for Tylenol, the board concluded that it while it was clear “someone at the facility had misappropriated those medications,” there was not enough evidence to suggest Vega was the perpetrator.

As for her on-duty overdose, the board found the evidence suggested Vega stole two patients’ fentanyl patches at Edgewood, used them herself, and was under the influence of controlled substances while on duty. The board also concluded Vega had also falsely reported that one patient’s prescribed fentanyl was missing and another patient’s fentanyl had been destroyed or discarded.

As a result of those findings, the board revoked Vega’s license to practice in Iowa. Board records indicate Vega now lives in Georgia, where her license is listed as in good standing and unencumbered by any restrictions.

Court records indicate Vega was not charged with any crimes related to the alleged overdose or the suspected theft of residents’ medications.

653 views

Comments


bottom of page