Former VA nurse charged for participating in a surgical procedure while under the influence

Former VA nurse charged for participating in a surgical procedure while under the influence

Published By: Times Leader
Authored By: Joe Dolinsky

SCRANTON — The U.S. Attorney’s Office has assumed the case against a former nurse accused of participating in an emergency surgical procedure while drunk.

Federal prosecutors on Friday charged Richard Pieri with reckless endangerment under the Federal Assimilated Crimes Act, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court. Pieri, prosecutors say, “did recklessly endanger another person by placing that person in danger of death or serious bodily injury by participating in a surgical procedure while under the influence of alcohol.”

Pieri’s attorney, Shelley L. Centini, was not immediately available for comment Friday.

Prosecutors say Pieri, 59, of Drums, staggered into the Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center and aided in an emergency surgical procedure after drinking four or five beers at Mohegan Sun Pocono casino. He allegedly told police he forgot he was on call.

Video surveillance obtained by police allegedly shows Pieri emerge from his Honda Ridgeline truck and collide with a concrete barrier while walking into the medical center just before midnight Feb. 4, nearly falling over several times.

Pieri had been charged with misdemeanor counts of of reckless endangerment, DUI and public drunkenness, all of which were withdrawn by the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office during a preliminary hearing last month before District Judge Joseph Spagnuolo.

State officials suspended Pieri’s nursing license a day after he resigned from the hospital.

The former nurse has a troubled past that included being charged in the 1985 hit-and-run death of 65-year-old veteran George Knorr near the hospital, which was adjacent to Pieri’s residence at the time.

Link: http://timesleader.com/news/531912/federal-prosecutors-launch-legal-action-against-former-veterans-administration-medical-center-nurse-richard-pieri

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