Police: Nurse stole pills to support relative’s addiction

In this case, the alleged story is that the nurse was stealing medication for a relative. We see similar cases periodically and we also see cases in which the nurse is selling, but it is far more common for nurses to divert for personal use. -Kim New

By Joseph Kohut

Police accuse a Carbondale nurse of forging the signatures of 19 co-workers 287 times over 185 days to steal painkillers and sedatives to support her sister’s drug addiction.

Bonnie Duffy, a licensed practical nurse, admitted to Carbondale Patrolman William Wolfe last month that she has been stealing medication from her employer, Carbondale Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, by forging other nurses’ signatures in a logbook to make it appear as if the medication was being administered to patients. She would also falsify the dates next to the signatures to make it more difficult to detect.

Another nurse, Linda Albert, dealing with the death of her son, would also give Ms. Duffy the keys to the medication cart to help with her patients, and Ms. Duffy would take advantage of the opportunity and steal drugs, Sgt. Patrick Lawler wrote in a criminal complaint.

Ms. Duffy, 53, of 34 Cemetery St., would not sell the drugs, nor would she take them herself, aside from the occasional painkiller if she had a headache, she told police. The nursing home administered a urine test, which Ms. Duffy passed with clean results. She had been stealing primarily oxycodone, Vicodin and Xanax for about six months. Police learned through their investigation that the list also included morphine.

She stole the medication for a relative, according to police.

The nursing center caught on to the thefts when another nurse, Tiffany Kilmer, checked the medication logbooks and saw her own signature next to a drug sign-out for a patient on July 2 at 10 a.m. Ms. Kilmer knew she hadn’t signed the book and reported it to Robin Tyborowski, the nurse manager.

Ms. Tyborowski called Ms. Duffy because she knew the patient does not often request his pain medication and Ms. Duffy had signed for his medication throughout the logbook. Ms. Duffy admitted she had been forging signatures. The nursing center called police July 3.

Ms. Duffy faces charges of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud or misrepresentation, forgery, records tampering, theft, receiving stolen property and unlawful possession of a controlled substance.

Ms. Duffy was arraigned Thursday and released on $20,000 unsecured bail, according to her attorney, Bernard Brown. They are reviewing the charges and court documents in advance of a preliminary hearing, scheduled for later this month, and hope to work toward a resolution that will allow Ms. Duffy to continue her professional career, Mr. Brown said.

The nursing center declined to comment, and a representative from Genesis Healthcare, which manages the facility, could not be reached.

Her practical nursing license, which was issued May 21, 1992, and last renewed June 26, was still active when checked Thursday morning, according to online records from the Pennsylvania Department of State.

Published by The Times-Tribune

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