Drug and alcohol abuse consistently ranks high on the list of complaints filed with the state nursing board, said Marsha Straus, compliance manager. In the last fiscal year, 322 of 1,085 complaints related to drug and alcohol abuse.
This is just the state of Ohio. Thirty per-cent of complaints received are drug and alcohol related. Yes, it is a very serious problem.
As I read this article it was impossible for me to keep my emotions out of it, for obvious reasons. At first I felt defensive and even angry that Riverside Methodist Hospital would choose to single out Ms. Moreland and make this headline "news." I was particularly disturbed by Dr. Michael Hindman's statement: "I'm really outraged. We put our misguided trust in a person and, as a result, some of our patients suffered pain."
I certainly do not deny the fact that laws were broken, hospital policy and procedure was breeched, and that the Nurse Practice Act was violated, not to mention ethical standards.
Is Dr. Hindman "outraged" because he views Ms. Moreland solely as a Nurse with a "criminal bent?" He informs the press that "Moreland's alleged thefts apparently began in the spring of 2000,".......without mentioning that the reality is - her disease of addiction began long before that. This is a Nurse who did not suddenly decide one day to steal narcotics just for the hell of it. By the time she had stockpiled "more than 400 vials of hydromorphone at her house" she was far along the road of addiction. She will suffer the consequences of the laws and ethical standards she has breeched. She will be held accountable.
How do we view Doris Moreland? A low-life criminal? Should we lock her up and throw away the key? Or is there far more to this picture than we care to understand?
Dr. Hindman, by virture of his position, (Senior Operations Officer), has to "save face" for Riverside Methodist Hospital in the eyes of the public it serves, so he freely informs that same public that he has rooted out a criminal from their midst ,.......that "person" in whom he put misguided trust."
The whole story left me with a bad taste. Probably because I too was once a Nurse Doris Moreland. The "bad taste" I feel is not because Doris Moreland broke the law........it is because of the way she is being portrayed to the public at large........as a criminal.
I know exactly how Doris Moreland is feeling right now. I know what it feels like to be trapped in the prison of addiction, that place that over time destroys your very soul, and without help will claim your life.
Perhaps Doris Moreland would not have had to reach this place if Dr. Hindman's institution had a plan and procedure in place to recognize impaired health professionals and intercept the late stage of addiction in such a way as to afford "that person" the opportunity to get the help he/she truly needs. And I'm wondering if Dr. Hindman would have treated any of his impaired physicians on his staff in exactly the same way he has Doris Moreland.......because he DOES have impaired physicians on his staff.
Bonnie Creighton, RN, MHCA
Mental Health Consumer Advocate