Former VA nurse arrested for falsifying records in patient death
BATON ROUGE - A Veterans Affairs nurse was arrested on a felony warrant after she was accused of falsifying records following a patient death at a veterans home in Reserve.
58-year-old Cheryl Poirrier, of LaPlace, is charged with four counts of filing false public records and one count of malfeasance in office. She was booked into the St. John Parish Prison by members of the Louisiana Department of Justice Fugitive Apprehension Unit.
The Office of the Investigator General began its investigation after they received information that records pertaining to the care of a resident at the veterans home had intentionally been falsified.
On Jan. 8, 2015 at around 9:20 p.m., a nursing assistant discovered that a resident at the Southeast Louisiana War Veterans Home in Reserve had fallen in his room. Poirrier, the on-duty-nurse, was summoned to the room where the resident was on the floor with his wheelchair on top him, complaining of back and head pain. Investigators said the resident was returned to his bed, but he was found unresponsive in his room some eight hours later. It was determined that the man died during the night.
Veterans Affairs policy requires that when a resident has an unobserved fall, nursing staff must obtain and document neurological signs at designated times over the next 72 hours. These are referred to as “neuro checks” by the VA.
Investigators determined that after the resident’s death was discovered, Poirrier prepared and filed reports falsely stating that she had performed four separate neuro checks on the resident. The reports were entered into the system between 7:40 a.m. and 7:48 a.m. on Jan. 9, 2015. It was determined by investigators that the nurse had performed no such checks on the patient.
“We owe our Veterans the highest degree of professional care. Ms. Poirrier not only failed to honor that obligation, but made the situation worse by falsifying records to cover up that failure. That can never be tolerated. We will continue to do everything in our power to bring about criminal consequences in such cases. I want to thank Secretary Strickland and his staff for their cooperation during our investigation, as well as Attorney General Landry’s Fugitive Unit for executing the arrest warrant,” Louisiana Inspector General Stephen Street said.