Lower Saucon Township, PA- A nurse who works at a Lower Saucon Township nursing home is facing DUI charges after she left works after her night shift under the influence of narcotics. Police apprehended the 31 year-old woman after staff members at a nursing home alerted them.
The Lower Saucon Township Police Department said that Felicia A. Knecht had high levels of oxycodone. Oxymorphone, and Xanax in her bloodstream, when they arrested her, Lehigh Valley News reported.
Staff members at the Weston Rehabilitation and Nursing Center told police the Knecht had fallen asleep several times during her shift that night. She even fell asleep with her head in a sink and lacked the coordination to unlock a door, the Lehigh Valley News reported.
The staff also told police that five oxycodone pills went missing during her shift and in the weeks preceding Kencht’s arrest 30 additional oxycodone pills were missing.
Police were called after staff members noticed she planned to drive home after her shift. They called police when she got behind the wheel, turned the ignition and put her car in drive. When police arrived they found the nurse sitting in her vehicle and ordered her to undergo a blood test.
The long term care facility is fortunate that no emergencies arose while Kencht was on duty. The dangers of having a nurse heavily influenced by narcotics on the facility floor should be obvious. Had an emergency situation with one of the residents occurred, Knecht would not have been capable of reacting properly, which could be the difference between life and death.
One of the duties of a nurse in a long term care facility is to help patients who have trouble walking get out of bed and go to the bathroom. A drug-addled nurse would not have the coordination necessary to help a resident walk or prevent them from falling. A fall for an elderly person can be devastating, and could result in broken bones or a head injury.
It would have also been very easy for Kecht to make a mistake and give patients wrong medications or doses.
Negligence in nursing homes is a serious issue and typically the result of inadequate staffing, or as is in this case, staff members who have no regards for the safety of their patients.
If a nursing home resident is harmed or injured because of an intoxicated staff member, the facility would be liable for their medical expenses. While the nursing home may not be aware that a staff member has a drug problem or is under the influence of drug during their shift, they are still responsible for the care of their patients and a nursing home abuse attorney could make them pay.
The staff members of Weston who reported Kentch did the right thing. Had they not taken action, she would have likely continued working under the influence and that could have led to a dangerous or deadly situation for a patient.