Medical Technology

Two nurses admit to stealing Drugs from Hospital Patients

According to the US Attorney’s Office Denver two registered nurses were charged in Colorado with fraud and deception after taking controlled drugs from patients in hospitals.

Alicia Nickel-Tangeman, 44 previously of Woodland Park, Colorado, pled guilty to four counts of obtaining controlled substances using fraud and deceit. She was able to access rooms of patients who weren’t assigned to her, and then diverted drugs from their pain-on demand devices according to federal officials.

According to authorities, the defendant claimed she was conducting an investigation of the pumps that provide painkillers when the patient presses a button. She would then open the machine, and then remove a small amount of the drug with the Syringe. She was able to obtain drugs this way from three patients on four occasions, a press release stated.

Nickel-Tangeman lied about her conduct when she was questioned by law enforcement and provided a fake email address to support her claims, according to the Department of Justice. She is scheduled to be sentenced November 30.

Tangeman’s LinkedIn profile indicates that she worked as a nurse at UCHealth in Colorado for 17 years, ending in May 2019.

Katie Muhs, 34, from Littleton, Colorado, was convicted of a felony for using deceit and fraud to divert fentanyl for her personal use while serving as an intensive care nurse.

The defendant admitted that between June and September 2019 she stole fentanyl by removing it from the IV bags of patients using the syringe. She also admitted to stealing fentanyl that was left in vials even after fentanyl had been given to patients. She would then replace the drug stolen with saline and would “then have a fellow nurse watch her “waste,”‘ or dispose of the saline.”

US District Judge Raymond Moore sentenced Muhs for 3 months probation in the wake of Muhs confession and her willingness to disclose all information regarding her diversion. This was a matter that could have a significant impact on public health and integrity of the health system. A felony offense could result in up to four years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for each instance.

Muhs admitted guilt to one count of the case and admitted that she removed a bag containing fentanyl from an automated medication control device in the hospital on September 8, 2019. She did this using another nurse’s login credentials. She then removed fentanyl from the IV bag for personal use.”

In April in April, the Colorado Court of Appeals denied her request for unemployment benefits. Court documents reveal that Muhs was fired from her position at St. Anthony Hospital, after it was discovered that she had self-injected fentanyl and stolen from the hospital while she was a registered nurse.

These cases were investigated by the US Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations (Office of Criminal Investigations), and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

“We want it known that healthcare professionals who exploit patients in need by taking their medication will be held accountable under the law,” Deanne Reuter, DEA Denver Field Division special agents in charge.

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Content Source: https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/959955?src=rss

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