JOHN S. ZABLOTNY
STATE BOARD OF NURSING
Argued: October 27, 2016
T. Mills, Attorney General, and Andrew L. Black, Asst. Atty.
Gen. (orally), Office of the Attorney General, Augusta, for
appellant State Board of Nursing
M. Baldacci, Esq. (orally), and Eugene M. Sullivan, Jr.,
Esq., Law Office of Joseph M. Baldacci, Bangor, for appellee
John S. Zablotny
SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, and
The State Board of Nursing (Board) appeals from a judgment
entered in the District Court (Machias, D. Mitchell,
J.) concluding that John S. Zablotny had engaged in
certain activities that constituted professional misconduct
pursuant to 32 M.R.S. § 2105-A(2) (2016) as alleged by
the Board, but also concluding that the Board had failed to
prove other allegations of professional misconduct. On
appeal, the Board contends that the trial court erred when it
concluded that the Board had failed to prove that Zablotny
committed professional misconduct as defined in 32 M.R.S.
§§ 2105-A(2)(F) and (H) when he did not fully
inform the on-call physician of-or immediately notify law
enforcement or the patients emergency contact about-the
conditions under which a patient was leaving the Down East
Community Hospital against medical advice. We affirm the
trial courts judgment.
The tragic events that generated this case are before us on
appeal for a second time. See Zablotny v. State Bd. of
Nursing (Zablotny I), 2014 ME 46,89A.3d143.
This case arises out of the death of a patient on January 1,
2008, near the Down East Community Hospital in Machias. Five
days earlier, the patient, who was emaciated and suffered
from several ailments, was admitted to the hospital with
complaints of severe abdominal pain. While in the hospital,
the patient was seen by physicians and several other health
professionals and was treated with large doses of narcotics.
On January 1, a physician checking on the patient had no
concerns for his "medical stability" and found no
"obvious etiology" for the patients reported pain.
After seeing the patient around noon, the physician left the
hospital but remained on call. Later that afternoon, a nurse
called the physician to inform him that the patient was in
pain and requested more medication. Suspecting that the
medication could be causing the patients pain, the physician
ordered a decrease in the patients medications.
Around 6:30 p.m., a nurse caring for the patient notified the
nursing supervisor that the patient was confused and needed
restraints. However, the nursing supervisor found the patient
to be quiet, lucid, rational, mentally competent and in no
need of restraints. The patient told the nursing supervisor
that he wanted to go home, and the nursing supervisor,
knowing that his family had left, told him that he would have
to sign the Against Medical Advice (AMA) form. When the
patient asked for the AMA form, the nursing supervisor
refused based on the patients condition and the weather.
[¶6] Zablotny arrived at work at 7:00 p.m. as the
nursing supervisor for the evening shift. The day shift
nursing supervisor reported to Zablotny her concerns about
the patient and told Zablotny not to let him leave AMA, to
which Zablotny responded that the patient could leave if he
signed the form.
Zablotny spoke with the patient who stated that he wanted to
be discharged against medical advice. While Zablotny was in
the room, the patient looked out the window and could see
that the weather was an "old-fashioned Nor
Easter"-bitterly cold, windy, snowy, and stormy.
At the time, no physician was present in the unit where the
patient was admitted. Zablotny retrieved the AMA form and
called the on-call physician pursuant to hospital policy.
Zablotny explained to the physician that the patient wanted
to leave AMA and that the patient had indicated that he
intended to go to a friends house, but Zablotny did not
inform the physician of what the patient wore for clothing or
that he intended to walk to the friends house. Based on the
information relayed to him by Zablotny, the physician, who
had seen the patient earlier in ...