Dad abandons toddler, now fights to keep nursing license

23 08 2010

Sometimes a profound lapse in judgment at home can cause you to lose your professional license at work. We saw yet another example of that last week when an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) recommended revoking the license of a nurse who left his young son at home with no babysitter.

What could he have been thinking?

The nurse was scheduled to take a college examination. On the morning of the exam, his wife left their apartment to go to work. The nurse understood that his brother-in-law would come to the apartment to watch his son, who was two years and eight months old. Before his brother-in-law arrived, the nurse left the apartment, leaving his son alone in front of the television. Some time later, an employee of a pest control service entered the apartment and discovered the child alone but apparently unharmed. He called police.

The court gave the nurse a break

The police arrested the nurse and charged him with intentional abandonment of a child, a state jail felony. The nurse pled guilty to the charge, but the court deferred adjudication and placed him on community supervision for three years. Furthermore, child protection officials eventually returned custody of the boy to the nurse and his wife.

But the Nursing Board did not give him a break

However, the Texas Board of Nursing moved to revoke the nurse’s license. The nurse then requested an administrative hearing.

The law

The Board is required to revoke the license of an individual who pleads guilty to certain serious crimes, including the crime of abandoning a child.

The ALJ approved of the Board’s action to revoke the license. And he opined that the revocation made sense because the nurse’s obligations to his patients require that he exercise sound judgment and, by leaving his son alone, the nurse demonstrated a lack of sound judgment.

For more details on the case, go to the SOAH website at www.soah.state.tx.us and search for the Proposal for Decision in SOAH Docket # 507-10-3526.

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