Hospital nurses sanctioned for drug irregularities, theft and alcohol abuse

By: - September 14, 2023 5:17 pm

An Iowa-licensed nurse accused of multiple violations related to her work at three hospitals has agreed to surrender her license. (Photo illustration by Iowa Capital Dispatch; background photo by JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images)

An Iowa-licensed nurse accused of multiple violations related to her work at three hospitals has agreed to surrender her license.

According to the Iowa Board of Nursing, Rachel Faith Martinez, formerly of Spencer, was disciplined by the board in 2022 for administering medications to hospital patients at a higher frequency than ordered and for failing to document any pain assessments she may have conducted for certain patients.

Later, Martinez was hired to work at another hospital, also unidentified by the board, and was allegedly fired from that hospital for what the board calls “similar concerns.”

In response to that situation, the board placed Martinez’s license on probation for six months beginning in October 2022. Immediately after the probation took effect, Martinez was hired to work at another hospital, which the board has not publicly identified.

While working there, Martinez allegedly procured controlled substances she never documented as having been administered. She also is alleged to have given patients multiple as-needed medications at the same time or within minutes of each other, and to have doled out medications in a manner that didn’t conform to a physician’s orders. In addition, management at the hospital was informed by the staff that Martinez’s patients were over-sedated, the board alleges.

The board charged Martinez with committing an act that may adversely affect the welfare of a patient and with failing to assess or accurately document the status of patients. She and the board recently agreed to settle the case with Martinez relinquishing her license and her right to practice in Iowa. She can apply for reinstatement in one year.

More nursing board actions

Other Iowa-licensed nurses recently sanction by the board include:

Kevin Call of Utah, who agreed to relinquish his right to practice in Iowa after the board charged him with misappropriating patient medications. The board alleged that while on a travel assignment and working at an unidentified hospital, Call procured medications for patients but never administered the drugs.

It’s not the first time Call has been accused of misappropriating patient medications. Records from the state of Utah indicate that in 2013, Call admitted to authorities that he had used a patient’s ATM card to withdraw $500 from the patient’s bank account without the patient’s permission. He also admitted taking $100 from a different patient and various sums of money from four or five other patients without those patients’ knowledge, according to Utah officials.

A search of Call’s locker at the hospital where he worked allegedly uncovered four syringes of oxycodone, plus a “large number” of other medications for which he had no prescription, licensing officials said. Call later practiced in the state of Montana, where he was accused of using another nurse’s license number to maintain employment. Call’s Montana nursing license was subsequently revoked, and he agreed to surrender his Utah license.

The Utah license was reinstated in 2017 subject to five years of probation. In 2019, the state of Utah terminated the probation and restored Call’s license with full privileges, free and clear of any restrictions.

Kathryn Stange of Des Moines, who agreed to have her nursing license placed on probation for two years. The Iowa Board of Nursing had charged Stange with excessive use of alcohol that might impair her ability to practice nursing with reasonable skill and safety. She was accused of being convicted of drunken driving on three occasions, most recently in November 2022.

With regard to the 2022 conviction, police records indicate that shortly before midnight on the evening of July 23, 2022, authorities in Clarke County were notified of a black Ford Explorer that was weaving in and out of its lane, almost striking other vehicles.

Less than an hour later, Stange called 911 to report that her black Ford Explorer was broken down on Interstate 35. When police arrived, Stange was allegedly sitting in the grass by her vehicle and showing signs of intoxication. A subsequent test indicated her blood-alcohol level was .218, well over the legal limit of .08, police alleged.

Having previously been convicted of drunken driving in 2014 and 2017, she was initially charged with third-offense drunken driving, according to court records. In November 2022, Stange agreed to plead guilty to a reduced charge of second-offense drunken driving.

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Clark Kauffman
Clark Kauffman

Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has worked during the past 30 years as both an investigative reporter and editorial writer at two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing.