Nurse said Exeter Hospital is making her a ‘scapegoat’ in hepatitis case
The suspect at the center of the case, David Kwiatkowski, lived with Descoteau at her Exeter home and worked with her at the hospital before he was fired and arrested on federal charges.
In her suit, Descoteau said she moved to Exeter seeking a “fresh start” with her two daughters following a divorce. During her brief employment, Descoteau met Kwiatkowski, who needed a place to stay. Since she needed help paying her mortgage, she allowed Kwiatkowski to move into her residence in November 2011.
According to her suit, Descoteau was hired as a registered nurse to work in the catheterization lab in June 2011.
During orientation, the suit said, Descoteau was trained in the hospital’s procedures for “wasting” excess, unused narcotic medications. According to the suit, Descoteau performed the procedure under the supervision of a “more senior nurse” who logged the medication wasted and the amount.
“Ms. Descoteau was not aware that her practice in wasting Fentanyl medication was unusual since she was following the procedure she had been taught at Exeter Hospital. This wasting was overseen by a preceptor, supervisor or more senior nurse and to the best of Ms. Descoteau’s knowledge and belief, all such wastage was approved and authorized by another supervising nurse and on the record,” the suit said.
Descoteau, represented by Manchester attorney David Slawsky, also said that she has cooperated with police, FBI agents, Food and Drug Administration officials and federal and state prosecutors.
The nursing board notified Descoteau in March that the complaint lodged by the hospital had been dismissed.
In the termination letter, the suit said the hospital said it had “credible suspicion” that Descoteau “may have contributed” to the hepatitis outbreak, that a criminal investigation in which Descoteau was “materially involved” was pending, and that the firing was based on “considerable information about (her) practices involving controlled substances,” her “lack of candor in interviews with senior staff,” and a “failure to respond to inquiries for information from Exeter Hospital counsel.”
The suit claims the firing was “motivated by bad faith, malice and/or retaliation.”
“Exeter Hospital vigorously denies the allegations in the complaint and intends to defend this case aggressively. The termination was specific to Kerry Descoteau. The hospital expects that the court will dismiss the matter at the appropriate time,” she wrote.
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