Former IU Health Arnett employee under review after drug use accusations

Local

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – A former employee at IU Health Arnett Hospital in Lafayette may have her medical license suspended after being accused of being under the influence of drugs at work.

According to a petition for summary suspension filed by Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill, Niki Thoma – a former respiratory care practitioner at IU Health Arnett Hospital – was fired on Sept. 2, 2016.

Thoma was working in the hospital’s intensive care unit on Aug. 27, 2016, when she was reported to have been seen reaching into a medication waste container. Thoma was also reportedly acting incoherent and missed a lab draw from a patient that day, documents state.

Later that day, Thoma submitted a urine sample to be screened for drugs.

Drug screen results came back three days later. It revealed Thoma tested positive for cocaine, hydromorphone, opiates-morphine, lorazepam, fentanyl, clonazepam, propofol, buprenorphine and norbuprenophine.

Thoma is believed to have a valid prescription for lorazepam.

Hospital security searched Thoma’s belongings on Aug. 27 and found a bag with syringes, needles and partially used bottles of Precedex and propofol.

A request to suspend Thoma’s respiratory care practitioner license is part of the petition. It would be suspended for 90 days once approved by the courts.

According to an Indiana government website, Thoma’s RCP license expired in December 2016. It claims her status is “valid to practice while reviewed.”

WLFI reached out to IU Health Arnett and their spokesperson told us, “We are unable to provide information or discuss employee discipline cases.”

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