The Delaware State Attorney General has called for the Board of Nursing to permanently suspend the professional license of a Delaware nurse who was recently charged with several Pennsylvania drug offenses. Authorities allege that the nurse, a 37-year-old man who is licensed to practice in Delaware but who had been employed at DuBois Regional Medical Center in central Pennsylvania, was in possession of four bags of cocaine and 33 bags of heroin. Stating that he believes the nurse to be an “immediate and imminent danger to public health,” the attorney general reportedly generated the emergency petition to ensure that the nurse will permanently lose his license and never be able to work in Delaware.
The nurse was taken into custody on July 13 by the Towamencin Township Police. He was charged with two counts of drug possession, possession of drug paraphernalia and receipt in commerce of a controlled substance. He has reportedly resigned from his position at DuBois Regional Medical Center and faces an October hearing.
While the nurse’s alleged acts are serious, they are at this point only charges. While it may benefit the attorney general to take a tough stance against a health care professional who allegedly committed these offenses, the accused has not been convicted of any crime. He is protected by a presumption of innocence and entitled to due process of law.
When a member of the health care profession is charged with drug offenses, a lawyer will have to challenge the evidence on two fronts: at an administrative hearing in front of the licensing authority as well as in the courtroom. The mere the fact of an arrest does not always rise to the level of unprofessional conduct in the one forum, nor is it proof beyond a reasonable doubt in the other.
Source: delawareonline, “Delaware nurse faces drug charges; emergency license suspension sought“, Terri Sanginiti, July 31, 2013