Make no mistake. Health care workers have been the heroes of the coven 19 pandemic, but, like any profession, there are those who are battling another demon and that could put patients and the public at risk. Hi amanda i’m brian polson, with fox 6 news. The woman in the hooded jacket finishing off her cigarette is amanda newenhaus, not that she’s eager to admit that. Are you amanda no you’re, not amanda? No! Okay. Can you tell me where she is? No, i don’t know she is a danger to the public. New in house is one of more than 50 wisconsin nurses disciplined in just the past year for taking drugs intended for patients like bonnie cabrera, accused of stealing pain pills at a wausau hospital, then bringing meth into a public school jerry daniels caught twice diverting morphine and Tramadol in appleton and sherry jess, who allegedly stole meds from patients in madison and waukesha in 2017, 2018 and 2019.. It is alarming and it’s. Concerning dr sean leroux says those are just the ones we know about the tip of the iceberg: yeah that’s. The metaphor i’d use tom knight is founder of healthcarediversion.org and says most people underestimate, just how big the problem is. It’S hard to know precisely how big, because most cases of diversion are not detected they’re, underground, they’re, hidden. A federal survey in 2015 found 5.7 percent of health care workers have substance, abuse disorders, that’s less than the general population, but with more than 110 000 nurses in wisconsin it could mean more than 6.
000 are addicted to alcohol or drugs, they’re people and they’re, subject to illnesses in their hearts and their lungs and their livers and in their brains. The problem, according to addiction psychiatrist, dr mike miller, is most don’t seek treatment until they get in trouble. Even then, it can take years for the disciplinary process to play out the work that the boards do is excellent, but there is an issue of timeliness, but what happened with amanda newinghouse is so extreme. The state is already promising to improve the operation of the division that handles disciplinary proceedings in no way was this case handled. In my opinion, the way this case should have been handled, arthur fexton spent 24 years prosecuting drug diversion cases for the state until he retired in 2015.. Morale was poor. Many of us left that’s when i i chose to retire and the replacements lacked experience. The wisconsin department of safety and professional services or dsps now blames staff turnover during the walker administration for at least some of the delay in prosecuting newinhouse, even though more than half of the investigation occurred under governor evers. In my opinion, this case was mishandled even after the new administration took over in march of 2017. Newinghouse was an assistant director of nursing at beloit, health and rehabilitation when she was fired for taking a patient’s missing pills. This case should have been immediately a high priority case, but records show a dsps investigator spent just 25 minutes working the case in 2017, while a department prosecutor billed roughly two hours for a year and a half the case went nowhere until newinghouse struck again at atrium Health in williams, bay and more people ended up being harmed at her hands.
One of those people was reagan, thoreau’s, grandmother, ann huffman. My grandmother was extremely vulnerable in november of 2018. Medications for two different patients went missing both on new and house’s shift, including three tablets of oxycodone huffman, never received it’s, sad to think that somebody that she was a trust to care for her took advantage of her. After the second case, surfaced prosecutors could have sought an immediate suspension of new in house’s nursing license, while the investigation progressed an action known as summary suspension. When should the department seek summary suspension when a practitioner is a clear and present danger to the public, and this nurse you believe at that point was clearly a danger to the public, obviously, but dsps never did that. That is was a complete failure of management. The lack of discipline is shocking. Dsps largely blames the next two years of delays on newinhouse who either took the maximum amount of time to respond to department, communications or missed deadlines altogether. The way to get them to respond to you is to suspend them now they have incentive to to cooperate instead, newenhaus kept dodging investigators and kept working. In december. We found her at saint elizabeth nursing home in janesville, where an administrator now says he was shocked to learn of the state’s four year old investigation. A background check had found no red flags, because the state’s website makes no mention of pending cases and new one house did not include the nursing homes that fired her on her resume.
It wasn’t until we called with questions that saint elizabeth became aware of her history and let her go, how many more people has she harmed in the last three years? There is no evidence. Newenhouse has diverted any additional medications since 2018., but on january 14th the state suspended her nursing license for at least 90 days to get it back. She’Ll have to get addiction treatment, take weekly drug tests and submit quarterly reports to a department monitor the safest health professional is one who is in monitoring. Dr miller says, treatment should be the goal, not punishment. Physicians and nurses with addiction are sick, they’re, not bad people, but dexton says there is a difference between drug addiction and drug diversion. She basically stole somebody else’s property and that he says calls for swift discipline. He’S not fit to be at the hands of somebody else. That needs care for patients and their families. Anything less. Can you tell me where she is? No, i don’t know you don’t know could be a tough pill to swallow. Amanda newenhaus said she’d talk to me on the phone, but she canceled at least three scheduled appointments. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for dsps says this case is an unfortunate reminder that the work they’ve been doing to stabilize the division under secretary don crim is far from over. You can see their full statement at fox6now.