Nurse Cited for Treatment of a Bedford Teen Girl Who Later Died

Bedford Co., VA - A nurse faces disciplinary action from state regulators, who say she gave a patient more than twice the recommended dosage of a powerful painkiller.

The allegation is connected to the treatment of a 17-year-old girl, who died just hours after being seen at a Roanoke County clinic in April, according to an attorney representing the girl's family.

A certified letter from the Virginia Board of Nursing was sent to Yevonne Powers at her home in Goodview last week.The letter says during her employment as a registered nurse with Med Express on Williamson Road on April 4, Powers, "administered 4 mg of Dilaudid to Patient A, who was suffering from acute pharyngitis, despite the medication's known risk of respiratory depression, and in a quantity at least twice the recommended dosage."

The charges by the board do not directly link Powers' actions to the teen's death.

Travis Graham, an attorney for the family of 17-year-old Jessica Hart, confirms Powers was the nurse who treated Hart on April 4 for a sore throat, and that treatment included a 4 mg shot of Dilaudid.

Bedford County deputies responded the night of April 4 to a call reporting Hart unconscious and not breathing. Hart died early the morning of April 5 at Roanoke Memorial Hospital. Hart's autopsy was completed later that same morning, according to the medical examiner's office.

The medical examiner concluded Hart died of natural causes, according to Roanoke County Police, who closed their investigation of Hart's death earlier this month.

Graham said the medical examiner's report lists complications from Epstein-Barr virus, or mononucleosis, as the cause of death.

Roanoke County Police say although the death investigation is closed and their findings have been turned over to the Commonwealth's Attorney for further review.

ABC 13 consulted a pharmacist who said two to three hours after taking Dilaudid, about half the amount taken is already out of a patient's system.

Powers did not return a call to her home Monday.

Chris Stevens, Powers' attorney, cited concerns over patient confidentiality and the ongoing investigation, in an e-mail to ABC-13 declining comment.

Powers' disciplinary hearing is set for August 8 in Richmond.

Vic Starcher, with MedExpress corporate in Morgantown, WV, cited employee confidentiality in an e-mail, declining to say whether Powers is still employed by MedExpress.

Powers was previously employed with Bedford County Public Schools, as a nurse working one-on-one with a special needs student at Goodview Elementary School. A school spokesman says Powers has not worked for the school system for the last three years. He could not say why her employment with the school system ended.