The Duluth News Tribune reported that a Minnesota nurse was recently found to have stolen hundreds of painkillers from 34 residents of a Ecumen nursing home and short-term rehabilitation center. The thefts, which occurred undetected over a five-moth period, included the high power painkiller, oxycodone, among other drugs and totaled over 760 pills. The stealing was only brought to the attention of the facility after a resident who was not administered her oxycodone complained that she was “having extreme pain” without it. It was found that the nurse who was taking the pills was signing out the pills without ever administering them to her residents.
It is maddening to think that almost three dozen residents could have suffered in pain without their medicine while this selfish human being stole their pills. This absolutely calls into question the quality of employees nursing homes are employing and management’s supervision. Even worse, this incident of pill philfering is just one among many as can been seen by the increase in the number of drug thefts in Minnesota. In hospitals and nursing homes across the state the number of reported cases has increased by twice the rate they were in 2005. “The trend reflects what experts say is a nationwide surge of prescription drug abuse — in many cases by the very people entrusted with caring for patients.”