VA Nurse Caught Operating On Veteran While Drunk

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VA Nurse

Benjamin KrauseOne VA nurse is accused of public drunkenness, reckless endangerment and drunk driving after stumbling into a VA hospital to participate in an emergency surgery. The nurse reportedly arrived at work after drinking 4-5 beers while playing slots at a casino.

INTOXICATED VA NURSE

Richard Pieri, the offending registered nurse, told police he assumed he was in trouble; “I guess it has something to do with me being drunk on call.” He admitted he knew he was not supposed to drink while on call and should have recused himself from the surgery due to his intoxication.

It is unclear if Pieri is still employed by VA following the incident. Will he get fired?

Pieri, 59, worked at Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center in Pennsylvania. On February 4, 2016, he was seen stumbling into the hospital after midnight shortly after playing slots and drinking numerous beers. Pieri was on call but failed to stop himself from getting drunk.

Witnesses noticed he struggled to prep the patient and prepare the surgical materials in the operating room. One physician assistant said Pieri was “definitely not himself,” according to an affidavit.

Surveillance footage shows Pieri emerging from his truck and running into a concrete barrier on his way to work. He reportedly stumbled numerous times before arriving inside the VA facility.

The veteran experienced stomach pains after the procedure and was readmitted to the hospital.

WILL VA NURSE PAY PRICE?

The most terrifying element of this case is that Pieri knew he was drunk and other clinicians were aware he was acting weird but failed to take action. Any number of problems can arise during an emergency surgery, and participating in a surgery while drunk knowing that risk is outrageous.

Given what VA has been up to regarding terminations, do you think Pieri will get fired? Or will he get the same treatment as some VA executives who apparently can get away with practically anything?

Diana Rubens and Kim Graves just returned to their cushy jobs with attorney fees covered by the American taxpayer — and it wasn’t because they were innocent but because other VA executives were equally as culpable in the conspiracy.

Source: https://timesleader.com/news/515090/nurse-accused-of-aiding-in-emergency-surgery-at-wilkes-barre-veterans-administration-medical-center-while-under-the-influence-of-alcohol

namnibor
Let me guess! I am betting he will get to be sent to some posh sobriety and addiction recovery spa in Vegas or Los Angeles only to come out ready to magically assist in surgeries and yes, the AFGE Union will protect him because the poor thing has to deal with us nasty Veterans and if it were not for we nasty Veterans, he would not have to drink…issue pushed, then the VA will give him a full early retirement… Read more »
Kirk R
Kirk R

Sounds about par for the course. But you forgot to mention the extended time off with pay while he goes through court.

namnibor
Nah, the VA will just continue to allow him to assist in surgeries as long as he gets a ride if he’s been drinking at the casino…just like the VA continues to employ that Nursing Assistant down in Louisiana = VAMC that through blunt force trauma, killed a 70+ old Veteran Patient…that’s how obstinately defiant the VA has evolved into. I think we would be going to even worse conditions if and when say Sloan Gibson may slide into the… Read more »
crazy elf
crazy elf
@namnibor I believe the vet who had the surgery “was readmitted after having stomach pains”. Not the nurse who was drunk! This leads me to believe something happened during surgery that shouldn’t have happened! Worse case senerio, Did the “drunk nurse” upchuck into the vets opened incision during this surgery? Probably NOT! Yet, I’m feeling a little “revengfull and hateful” toward VA this morning! Especially since there are MORE AND MORE negative articles coming out about VA in recent months… Read more »
91Veteran
91Veteran
The question of whether anything will happen to him depends on whether his nursing license is impacted. Even then, it may only be impacted such that he has restrictions on it requiring he be supervised. Never mind that he was supervised since he certainly was not doing the surgery as a nurse. I keep bitching about VA providers being exempt from state regulatory oversight. This nurse is a prime example for the need. Same with any other licensed provider in… Read more »
crazy elf
crazy elf
Y’all should check out a “Utube” video from “INFOWARS. com”! Titled; “Why Obama will not indict Hillary” It’s already widely known, Hillary went to Obama and said, quote: “Call off your fμ€king dogs!” It’s come out now, she’s been threatening to “release all documents” which will prove the corruption of the Washington career politicians! I believe this is the “reason” behind the DOJ not bringing charges against her. God knows they have more than enough evidence! I also believe Washington… Read more »
crazy elf
crazy elf

P.S.
I forgot to mention. Keep “Gitmo Open” for when President Trump has Hillary, Bill and all the other corrupt politicians arrested, tried and sentenced to long prison terms.
It would also be a great place for the corrupt VA employees and upper management personnel!

Kirk R
Kirk R

That is a good idea, it truly would make a nice little get and stay away spot for all VA SES employees.

Lee
Lee

Please don’t forget the Bush’s Administration. Don’t get me started with Trump.

thefreckledfishartgallery

What an odd remark to the nurse, drunk while “on call” and the “team” that allowed the individual to participate – did Hillary stop by the surgery to campaign?

James
I believe this person will be punished.don’t know if he will be fired. He maybe fired.because he’s not part of administration. Non administrative personnel will not be defended by the administration.since this is in the open. If the union defends this employee and the department has the proof of intoxication.the union would loose. Management will fire him to prove a point.we do fire employees. One fired employee will not excuse them of all the other illegal acts they are committing… Read more »
walt craig

he’ll probably get a BIG BONUS

namnibor
What’s really more scary is to think just how many surgical operations he assisted with in years prior to this, having drinks while on active call/alert, and how many people did he “assist” into a “Bloody Mary State”???? Sorry for dark humor but Benjamin’s “Bad VA Art” really should be one of many calendar picture pages made up, as today’s even has this subtle but once recognized quite pronounced series of crack in the wall behind him, making him, well,… Read more »
James
The picture is perfect.many employees drink right after work.how do you think things are done. Management gets together at a bar or their homes and drink and then drunk come up with ways to get over on Veterans and the government. Especially in rural communities.were VA employees are all friends or relative’s and they tell each other what employees need to be delt with and are a threat to their jobs or bonous. If it’s a veteran.they determine how to… Read more »
91Veteran
91Veteran

The Bad VA Art is especially good today.

Ronnie Sandifer

He didn’t kill one of us yet, so they will keep him on until he does.

91Veteran
91Veteran
Will he get fired? Likely not. Particularly if he claims some reason such as stress for drinking…never mind he was having fun while drinking. Or he may claim a twofer, that he drank and gambled because of stress. If he claims that, I can see the union standing behind him, especially if he enters some kind of treatment program. In a month or two he will be back on the job. In the meantime, his incredibly bad judgement in showing… Read more »
namnibor
Right! It even stated he ran into something or fell down on his way reporting to work. So this partly explains how my private medical center I go to, and the phlebotomist I always prefer, she is also fellow USAF Veteran, but she told me a few years ago that her father, a seasoned career old salt Navy Vet went to have surgery, an amputation of a toe, related to diabetes, and guess what? She has no reason to make… Read more »
namnibor

If I had to go anywhere for surgery on any limb, I think I would be anal retentive enough to take a very large black sharpie and place an ‘X Marks The Spot’ on the needed worked on limb.
Now with the VA, it’s a “gamble” because there’s no guarantee that English is even a fluent third language 🙂 Maybe just an ‘X’.

91Veteran
91Veteran
When I was in the Houston VA years ago, there was a family there that was VERY upset. Their father was in the hospital for a foot amputation, also likely due to diabetes, and they amputated the wrong foot. Every time I have had knee surgery, AF, Army, civilian twice, they made me mark an X on the leg being cut on. When I had it replaced by the VA 2 years ago, they just had me point to which… Read more »
Merri Busch
Merri Busch
I expect better from an investigative journalist. Is he an employee who is also a veteran? Does he have a SCD and hired under Schedule A, despite having PTSD as a combat medic? Will he be referred for his likely addiction? Should he be able to keep his job if he goes through treatment? Does he have any ADA protections? Hmmmm? And nice touch creating a possible but unlikely correlation between the veteran’s readmission and a circulating nurse. For some… Read more »
91Veteran
91Veteran
Not sure where you are trying to go with this Merri, but after re-reading both the linked article and Ben’s post, I think you may want to do the same. First, Ben is not an investigative journalist but an attorney who blogs about things already in the news about the VA. Second. The nurse very well may be a veteran hired under what ever means and may be stressed, but at 59 he likely had been treated for any possible… Read more »
James

Did you say the nurse.veteran and has ptsd.don’t remember that being reported. It would not excuse the nurse.

The VA should have noticed something wrong before this happened and should have given him treatment for his self medicating.

Do you know him.

Sandra Hale
Sandra Hale
Merri Busch sounds like a VA employee – someone get a breathalizer, she may be drunk typing. – Ben, I wouldn’t even have answered such a troll- keep on telling the facts like they are. I am sick of VA employees defending such illegal activities and trolling our veteran sites. Did you notice that she knew all the VA lingo and rules and regulations, your average person wouldn’t have spouted off all that crap. And, Merri – get a better… Read more »
Ralph
Ralph

Nothing will happen . It is only veterans they are operating on .

js03

if this happened in any hospital in the country they guy would be terminated for cause

it should be an immediate termination without appeal rights

don
don

VA Code of Silence regarding employees
Difficult to fire or demote VA employees.
Patient Centered Care?
J. David Cox would be proud of this nurse.

James
You know I use to hear a lot of Veterans say that the VA had killed some veterans.I didn’t think it was really happening to veterans. After all of this.I’m starting to believe. I ? believe it to be more true.than not true. Our elected officials better listen and do something about it or resign and let someone have their job.so it can get fixed. Its totally amazing our elected officials are not speaking out in favour of the veterans… Read more »
Dan F
Dan F
I will just say this about the Wilkes-Barre VA, I moved to Pennsylvania to the area served by this VA. After visiting it 3 times, I decided to move where I would be closer to another VA. The place is a joke, except if you are a veteran. When I was going there, I was told the Chief of Psychiatry wasn’t Board Certified. In fact, she failed the Board test twice. Primary Care was always a Nurse Practitioner or Physician’s… Read more »
Sandy Hale, Disabled Combat Veteran
Sandy Hale, Disabled Combat Veteran

YAWN — so what else is new? Same crap different VA. The really scary thing is that this is only the tip of the iceburg. The ones that got caught. For every one that actually gets caught, there are hundreds more that don’t.

Jo3n

I agree that the story was shallow concerning the facts. I couldn’t imagine the VA would fire him. Most the VA nurses I know, don’t drink, they are on drugs. It’s the VA system, from top to bottom, too many issues. If it can’t be fixed, junk it..

glenn678

If I remember correctly if you are a military person drunk on duty, you could buy yourself some major trouble.

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