Nurse is Accused of Stealing Pain Killers
A recent report by state investigators states that a nursing home nurse routinely removed powerful pain patches (pain killers) from patients, placed the patches on his tongue, and then placed the patches back on the backs of clients. It was found that the affected clients were those suffering from mental deficiencies, making it easy for the nurse to get away with the act.
Investigators with the Health Department said in their report that the licensed practical nurse (LPN) had stolen painkillers from 10 residents before being caught by another staff member in the spring of 2014. This led to police becoming involved and the employee was immediately fired.
The patches that were removed from patients were fentanyl patches and three residents of the nursing home were targeted.
When the patches were removed, he would keep them on his tongue for one hour before replacing the patches on the residents.
During questioning, the nurse did admit carrying out this act three to four times per week for at least a year.
The three patients were described as individuals that had severe cognitive defects that caused them to not be able to communicate what was happening or even communicate their needs. The report added that the health effects of temporary fentanyl patch removal could not be determined.
Other Painkillers Allegedly Taken By Nurse
In addition to removing fentanyl patches from patients, there was a roster of drugs that the nurse had taken. Investigators concluded that the nurse had also taken tramadol, Percocet, and Tylenol No. 3.
The taking of pain killers from nursing home residents by staffers is something that has been a problem for a while. Everyone from doctors to housekeeping is not immune to what a drug addiction can make them do. However, there have been cases throughout Minnesota where the patients have been placed in extreme danger because a nursing home worker went to great lengths to get a fix.
There have been cases where nurses or others have taken the contents of IV bags and replaced them with saline.
In another recent case, a nursing home worker with Hepatitis C caused patients in a nursing home to contract the disease because he would use needles intended for them. He would inject the contents of a syringe and then replace the contents with saline.
While this is an extreme case, the most common type of case occurs when a nursing home resident’s pills are stolen or pills are stolen from the nursing home itself. These are serious medication errors because taking pills from a patient can result in them not receiving the pain management that they need, causing them to be in more pain than they need to be. In other words, they can suffer and that can have a detrimental effect on their health, quality of life, and overall well-being.
Report Medication Theft – Drug Diversion – Painkillers
For more information from the Minnesota Department of Health, Office of Health Facility Complaints concerning nursing homes, assisted living and other elder care providers view resolved complaints at the MDH website.
If you have concerns about medication theft or any other form of elder abuse or neglect contact Minnesota Elder Abuse Attorney Kenneth LaBore toll free at 612-743-9048 or toll free at 1-888-452-6589 or by email at KLaBore@MNnursinghomeneglect.com.