A Carroll surgeon is suspended from work indefinitely after allegedly driving a vehicle drunk through someone’s yard last week and fleeing from a police officer.
Nicholas Josef Kuiper, 41, was arrested for a felony charge of criminal mischief and misdemeanor charges of eluding and operating while intoxicated for the early-Friday-morning incidents near Panora.
He has been a surgeon at St. Anthony Regional Hospital for less than a year. The hospital released this statement Monday about Kuiper’s arrest:
“We are aware of the legal issues that occurred Friday morning involving Dr. Kuiper. While we do not comment on personnel matters, we can share that according to Iowa law any physicians or health care providers charged with a legal infraction involving substance abuse immediately have their clinical privileges suspended until the matter is settled. Dr. Patricia Teschke is prepared to care for our surgical patients and their families in the short term.”
Teschke, also a general surgeon, was hired around the same time as Kuiper.
Kuiper is accused of driving a sport-utility vehicle through the driveway gates of a rural Panora house and “tearing around” the yard about 1:10 a.m. Friday, according to court records.
The incident was recorded by video surveillance.
Kuiper allegedly left the yard, drove through Panora and fell asleep in the vehicle on the east side of that town. When a police officer located him and tried to wake him, Kuiper drove off, court records show. Kuiper stopped the vehicle about a mile later and was arrested.
Kuiper’s alleged blood-alcohol concentration was about .201 percent, which is more than double the limit to drive. Later that morning a hospital employee asked the Carroll Police Department to look for Kuiper because he had not arrived for work and could not be contacted.
The felony charge Kuiper faces is punishable by up to five years in prison.
“We believe our privilege to care for patients and families is built on a sacred trust that we earn every day through our actions and our words,” the hospital said in its statement. “St. Anthony Regional Hospital physicians, staff and employees look forward to continuing to provide high-quality compassionate care for the West Central Iowa community.”