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Iowa nurse charged with abuse for stealing patient’s oxycodone

For the second time in 10 years, an Iowa nurse accused of stealing painkillers from patients has had her license suspended by the state.

The Iowa Board of Nursing recently voted to indefinitely suspend the license of Tammie Lynn Illg, 47, of Whittemore, alleging that in October 2022 she stole prescription pain relievers from a patient. The suspension will remain in place until Illg completes a chemical dependency assessment and provides proof of 12 months of sobriety.

Court records indicate that Illg worked as a nurse at the West Bend Health and Rehabilitation Center in Palo Alto County, where, on two different days, she gave a patient Tylenol instead of the man’s prescribed oxycodone and then held for the prescribed drug.

Illg was criminally charged with adult addict abuse and criminal drug diversion. She pleaded guilty to drug diversion charges and a sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 16.

In 2014, the council imposed a license suspension order against Illg after she was convicted of trespassing and possession of a controlled substance. Court records indicate those criminal convictions stemmed from allegations that Illg stole 14 hydrocodone tablets from her workplace at the time, which the council did not identify.

Other recent actions by the Iowa Board of Nursing include:

  • Carine Ayuk of Owings Mills, Md. – The council accused Ayuk of forging license credentials. According to the board, Ayuk applied for a license to the Iowa Board of Nursing three years ago, in May 2020, and she was released a month later. The council now claims that the credentials provided by Ayuk were somehow forged. Ayuk has agreed to surrender her license.
  • Sonia York of Burlington – The board has directed York to complete a three-day virtual course on patient boundaries and professional ethics. The board had accused York of making lewd, suggestive or sexual comments. It is unclear from available public documents to whom the comments were directed. York was charged with the formal offense of making the comments “to a patient”, but council documents indicate that the charge was based on the council’s allegation that she exchanged text communications of a sexual nature “with the son of a patient”.
  • Stephanie Monds of Gray, Ga. – The Iowa Board of Nursing charged Monds, who worked at an unspecified Iowa hospital in 2021 and 2022, with four regulatory violations: misappropriation of patient medications; committing an act that may adversely affect a patient’s physical or psychosocial well-being; violate a patient’s privacy rights; and failing to accurately assess or document a patient’s status. She was accused of giving patients only a portion of the drugs she had obtained for them and then not accounting for the rest of the drug. She has also been accused of obtaining drugs for patients not assigned to her and then “wasting” the drugs by disposing of them. As part of a settlement agreement with the board, Monds agreed to give up his privilege to practice in Iowa. In 2011, the Georgia Board of Nursing was notified that Monds had been fired from her job as a nurse for diverting narcotics for personal use. The Georgia board subsequently placed her license on probation, which she successfully completed.
  • Melaney Thomas of Cedar Rapids — After being accused by the Iowa Board of Nursing of violating patient confidentiality, Thomas was ordered to complete 30 hours of educational training on patient privacy and the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act Thomas was alleged to have accessed the medical records of five family members on multiple occasions while working as a hospital nurse between October 2021 and June 2022.
  • Julianne Redington of Cedar Rapids – The Board of Nursing accused Redington of committing an act that could adversely affect the physical or psychosocial well-being of a patient or client. According to the council, that allegation is based on an allegation that while employed at an unspecified care facility in the fall of 2022, Redington “had inappropriate interaction” with residents, staff or relatives of residents at the the facility in which it was worked. The board did not elaborate on Redington’s alleged conduct. The board ordered her to complete 30 hours of educational training in managing difficult patients.
  • Sarah Bracht-Wagner of Mason City – The Board of Nursing ordered Bracht-Wagner to complete 60 hours of educational training in nursing ethics and procedures after she claimed she performed nursing services outside the authorized scope of practice for her license and therefore falsified documents. The charges stemmed from allegedly giving a patient intravenous drugs that she hadn’t been trained to administer, then falsely documenting that someone else had given the drugs to hide her actions.

This article first appeared in the Iowa Capital Dispatch.

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