NJ nurse’s license revoked for stabbing 10-year-old patient, who has autism, with hypodermic needle

( Photo by Daan Stevens/Unsplash )

The State Board of Nursing has revoked the license of a registered nurse who repeatedly stabbed a 10-year-old child with a hypodermic needle, officials say.

Naomi Derrick, of Sicklerville, N.J., reportedly made multiple threats to the child by saying she would give him a needle if he didn’t behave.

Subsequently, during her 12-hour overnight shift, Derrick carried out the threat by jabbing him with the hypodermic needle on at least six occasions.

Derrick, who had been employed by Atlanticare Regional Medical Center at the time of the incident, was caught on security camera in the boy’s room.

A fellow employee also witnessed Derrick’s actions of intentionally harming the child.

Both security camera and witnesses accounts reveal that Derrick stuck the child with the needle on his upper arm, thigh, kneecaps, foot and hand.

Frequently, these assaults with the needle drew blood.

“Vulnerable children with special needs should be treated with the highest standard of care,” said Attorney General Grewal. “The conduct at issue in this case did not only fall far short of that standard, it demonstrated a level of cruelty that has no place in the nursing profession, and is entirely unacceptable.”

The State is also moving for the revocation of Derrick’s respiratory therapist license under the State Board of Respiratory Care.

“Intimidating and terrorizing a developmentally disabled child who is completely dependent on your care is a horror that should not be visited upon anyone,” stated Paul R. Rodríguez, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs.

Rodríguez added that, "We’re taking appropriate steps to ensure that Naomi Derrick will never again be able to use her position as a licensed health care professional to abuse patients in this state, especially vulnerable children.”

The board described Derrick’s conduct as “egregious and disturbing.”

It was concluded that her interaction with the child amounted to gross and repeated acts of negligence, malpractice, incompetence, and professional misconduct.

Additionally, the State Board of Nursing also found that Derrick lacked good moral character required of a nursing licensee.

“Quite simply, (Derrick) should not be a nurse,” the Board concluded.

During her one-day trial back in March 2019, Derrick denied ever touching the boy with the needle.

However, she did concede that throughout her shift she did continually unsheathe the needle and threaten him with it to “calm him down.”

Derrick testified that the boy would call her names, pull her hair, throw a sheet at her, and try to leave the room and go into other patients’ rooms.

She admitted continually telling the boy that if he did not listen he would be “put in restraints and get the injection.”

Derrick testified that another nurse had verbally instructed her to do that but the instruction was not in writing.

During another hearing in July, Derrick argued that her license should be suspended temporarily instead of revoked. She stated that there was no evidence that the child had been injured.

According to Derrick, no blood or bruising could be seen on the video and an examination of the child the following day showed no obvious signs of injury.

Derrick, who had been a nurse for eight years prior to the March 2016 incident, had no prior disciplinary orders against her.

Derrick, along with having her license revoked, has been order to pay $2,166 for the investigation and prosecution of her case.

The State Board of Nursing wanted her to be 100 percent reliable for the costs but settled for the recommended 10 percent instead.

Altogether, Derrick was criminally charged with aggravated assault, terroristic threats, child endangerment, and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose (the syringe) in August 2017.

Patients who believe that they have been treated by a licensed health care professional in an inappropriate manner can file an online complaint with the State Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504- 6200.