Narcotics diversion: nurse sues employer over confrontation, court dismisses the lawsuit.


The prelude to the incident in question was a counseling session between the registered nurse and her supervisor over documentation errors with her narcotics.

The counseling session came after she checked out three 100 mg doses of fentanyl on one shift but documented only three 25 mg doses going to each of three patients and did not document proper wastage of the 3 x 75 mg total excess.

Soon afterward the nurse was called into a meeting with two nurse managers and someone from the hospital's employee assistance program. The nurse was told bluntly that she was suspected of narcotics diversion and on-the-job drug abuse. She was asked and agreed to give blood and urine samples. The three hospital representatives walked her down to the E.R.

The nurse was assured she was free to leave but was not allowed to drive her car parked on the street blocks away, based on suspicion she was presently under the influence. A female hospital police officer drove the nurse and her supervisor to the nurse's car to get some personal items, then back to the hospital. The nurse's boyfriend came and took her out to dinner. Then they went and got her car.

The drug tests came back negative. The nurse was fired anyway for substandard performance, that is, for medication documentation errors. She sued the hospital for false imprisonment over the way she was confronted. The Court of Appeals of Ohio threw out her lawsuit.

No False Imprisonment Occurred

The nurse voluntarily consented to be tested for drugs, albeit in the face of disciplinary action extremely prejudicial to her continued employment if she refused.

She was watched one-on-one but was never restrained from leaving the premises.

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