UPDATED: Nurse in drug case loses her Minnesota job privilegesThe RN was arrested on suspicion of siphoning suspected morphine out of patients' IV bags. She may have committed a similar act in a Duluth hospital, where she once worked.
By: By Paul Walsh, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Superior Telegram
The Minnesota Board of Nursing has pulled the privileges of a nurse who was arrested last week on suspicion of siphoning suspected morphine out of patients' IV bags in a Coon Rapids hospital.
The board said Monday that Maria Anne Mihalik is the subject of a cease-and-desist order. That means the 26-year-old woman from Superior, Wis., can no longer work as a registered nurse in Minnesota.
Executive Director Shirley Brekken said Mihalik will have 30 days to appeal. The order is indefinite and is being distributed nationwide, Brekken said.
Meanwhile, Wisconsin regulators are starting an investigation that could lead to Mihalik losing her nursing license altogether, said a spokesman for the Wisconsin nursing board.
Mihalik had been working at St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth until March 26, and that hospital is investigating her for allegedly tampering with patient medication in early April, Duluth police spokesman Brad Wick said Monday. Police ticketed Mihalik for trespassing, he said. St. Mary's declined to say whether Mihalik was fired or quit.
Last Tuesday, according to the Anoka County Sheriff's office, Mihalik impersonated a nursing student and stole what is believed to be morphine from at least three patients at Mercy Hospital.
She was arrested at the hospital, wearing nurse's scrubs, while trying to flee, the Sheriff's office said.
Hospital officials found three IV bags had been punctured or tampered with, and Mihalik had syringes in her possession with a clear fluid in them, said Sheriff's Lt. Paul Sommer. Test results on the fluid are pending.
The hospital says none of the patients was harmed.
Mihalik graduated with honors from Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College in 2004, receiving an associate degree in nursing, a school official said. She was first licensed in Wisconsin as a registered nurse in June 2004 and was cleared to start work in Minnesota later that year.
Mihalik's attorney, Robert Lengeling, declined to comment Monday about any of the allegations against his client.
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