The state was right to fire Patti McPhail, a nurse at a chemical-dependency treatment center, for providing a client with a three-month supply of an addictive drug upon the client's discharge in July, an arbitrator ruled this month.

McPhail's employer, CARE, a state-run facility in Carlton, testified that the client had a history of abusing the drug, benzodiazepine, and was in "substantial danger of respiratory cessation and death."

There was an order in the client's file that said "do not release any meds." The order was made by a ranking registered nurse, who was on vacation when the client left.

McPhail, a licensed practical nurse, told officials that she thought the order applied only to a previous incident involving the individual.