Police have just charged a registered nurse for chugging between four to five beers and then operating on a veteran at a medical facility.
The incident took place Feb. 4. Richard Pieri, the 59-year-old nurse in question, lurched into the Wilkes-Barre VA medical center in Pennsylvania while loaded with booze, The Associated Press reports.
He was so intoxicated he could barely login to one of the computers in the operating room. When he did manage, he screwed up the timestamp listing when the emergency surgery began and when it finished. A co-worker noticed Pieri’s difficulties and alerted authorities.
The patient reportedly came in complaining of stomach problems, at which point doctors decided an emergency appendectomy was required. At about 10:30 p.m., Pieri was called to come in for surgery. He had been drinking heavily at the Mohegan Sun Pocono casino and playing slots since 5 p.m., having forgotten he was even on call on the first place. He then went home to take a nap and was woken up by his pager.
Police asked Pieri point blank why he believed authorities were interested in questioning him.
He responded, “I guess it has something to do with me being drunk on call.” There’s no doubt about that. Police have in their possession of video showing him stumbling through the hospital’s parking lot.
Pieri now faces three charges: driving while drunk, recklessly endangering another person and public drunkenness.
William Klaips, executive assistant to the medical center director, reiterated the hospital takes patient safety very seriously.
“We made sure there were no unsafe situations for our patients, and then we did the further investigations,” Klaips told The Associated Press.
Luckily, the patient, Stanley Bilwin, appears to have been unharmed by Pieri’s actions.
“I get really good care up there. The doctors, everybody up there is usually great, real good. They cured cancer, I got a hernia done, a lot of stuff,” Bilwin said.
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