The mystery of missing surgical drugs at HCA Florida Mercy Hospital ended in the right leg of a registered nurse with other drug problems. When the nurse’s state license suspension will end is less certain.
Groennou Nieves has been suspended by the state Board of Nursing since Friday. Before she can come off suspension, Nieves will be evaluated by the Intervention Project for Nurses and follow all treatment recommendations of IPN, which is contracted by the state to monitor nurses with substance abuse or mental health issues. Then she’ll need to be cleared by an IPN evaluator.
If IPN evaluation says Nieves doesn’t need treatment, she’ll be suspended until Jan. 19, 2025, followed by another year of professional probation.
Online Florida Department of Health records say Nieves has been a licensed registered nurse in Florida since Dec. 14, 2020, with no previous discipline problems. The Board of Nursing adopted the allegations in the Florida Department of Health’s administrative complaint as fact after Nieves didn’t respond to the complaint.
Where did the propofol go?
“Propofol injection is used to help you relax or sleep before and during surgery or other medical procedures. This medicine is an anesthetic and a sedative,” the Mayo Clinic said.
The complaint said on Feb. 16, Mercy hospital staff noticed 50 ml of propofol missing and ordered a “reasonable cause drug screen” of Nieves. Nieves complied, then went into a restroom. She locked the door.
“Shortly thereater, HCA staff heard a loud thump from inside the locked restroom,” the complaint said.
Once workers got into the restroom, they found Nieves unconscious on the floor with an IV catheter in her right leg. Propofol was in the line.
A March 23 drug test came back positive for cocaine.
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