A nurse at Pennsylvania's Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center, has been criminally charged with recklessly endangering another person, driving under the influence, and public drunkenness for assisting in a surgical procedure while allegedly being drunk.  Police approached the nurse at work who reportedly admitted to being drunk on call.  He also reportedly participated in an emergency appendectomy while intoxicated.  This VA employee is said to have visited a casino and drank four or five beers while on call, went home, and received a call at 11:30 p.m. to assist in the surgical procedure.  He admitted that he knew he was not supposed to participate in the procedure after drinking, but claims he forgot he was on call and did not want someone else to be called in to take over for him.  This nurse's surgical responsibilities included "preparing the patient, retrieving the patient, preparing the materials inside the room, documenting the surgery, and monitoring the vitals of the patient throughout recovery."  The executive assistant to the VA Medical Center's director, William Klaips, claims that to his knowledge there was no harm caused by this behavior.  While the nurse remains employed by the hospital, an internal investigation is proceeding along with the criminal charges already pending.

 

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