MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Tennessee Department of Health’s Board of Nursing through the Tennessee Department of Health has suspended the license of a Memphis-area registered nurse for taking drugs from work and potentially putting children at risk.
According to the state order, Bailey K. Sullivan worked at Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare from 2016 until 2019. Hospital officials clarified to WREG that Sullivan worked at Methodist University Hospital in the Medical District.
The most concerning time period involved the first two weeks of July of this year.
It’s unclear what prompted the hospital to do an audit, but as a result, hospital officials said they found 130 instances where she didn’t document the administration or disposal of controlled substances, according to the DOH order.
”That’s usually a red flag to administrators; there may be a situation where that employee is stealing those drugs for personal use or resale on the street,” patient advocate attorney Parke Morris said.
According to paperwork from the DOH, the audit found her mishandling more than 20 different types of medications and nearly 500 pills or other related items.
“461 is a staggering number,” Morris said. “That’s remarkable. That’s someone who has a serious problem.”
Morris handles a lot of medical malpractice cases like these. He said they bring up a lot of concerns about potential victims but also gave Sullivan credit.
Documents show she admitted to having a drug addiction problem and submitted a statement saying “’some of the medications were used while I was at work’ and ‘I understand that working while impaired could potentially cause patient harm.’”
WREG went to Sullivan’s home in Bartlett to try to get a comment. No one came to the door, but we did speak with her next door neighbor, who said Sullivan hadn’t been around in more than a week.
A family member contacted WREG on Sullivan’s behalf and said “this incident does not define who she is as a person.” They went on to say the incident “is not an accurate representation of her character” and “she’s a good person who made a mistake.”
Sullivan’s license is suspended for an unspecified amount of time.
According to the order, she would have to go on probation for a minimum of three years in order to get it reinstated. Under probation, she’d have to do an evaluation and commit to monitoring.
A Methodist spokesperson released the following statement to WREG regarding the matter:
“While I cannot discuss specific personnel matters, what I can tell you is that we take drug diversion seriously. Once we learn of a violation, we move swiftly to remove the individual. We work diligently every day to provide our patients with high-quality, expert care. Patient safety is paramount.”