Nurse at Kitchener care home guilty of stealing painkillers

This case involves an RN in Canada who was found guilty of diversion of hydromorphone from a terminal cancer patient at a long term care center. According to the article, she showed an unusual interest in administering the drug. This has been a theme in many other cases, with nurses who are diverting being described as “very helpful,” particularly with opioid administration. 
The article goes on to describe a former worker at the care center who was placed in a nursing position by her boyfriend’s staffing agency after she stole the identity of an RN. -Kim New

By Gordon Paul

KITCHENER — A woman who worked as a nurse at a Kitchener long-term care facility was found guilty on Tuesday of stealing a potent prescription painkiller that she was supposed to inject into a resident dying of cancer.

After hearing the verdict, Kelly Reinhart — who no longer practises nursing — shook her head and then burst into tears.

The 36-year-old worked as a part-time, casual registered nurse at Lanark Heights, a facility with 160 residents on Lanark Crescent in the Forest Heights area.

On March 22, 2015, another nurse saw Reinhart with a syringe of the opioid painkiller Dilaudid. Reinhart’s job was to inject it into an elderly female resident dying of stomach cancer.

Instead, Reinhart walked into an empty room. By the time she entered the resident’s room, the syringe was empty.

It was standard practice at Lanark Heights for nurse practitioners to administer narcotics to residents. Reinhart showed an “unusual interest” in doing it, Justice Elliott Allen said.

She was found guilty of theft under $5,000. Three other charges were stayed.

A presentence report will be prepared before Reinhart is sentenced by Allen on Nov. 1.

More than a month after Reinhart was charged, she was still free to practise nursing with no conditions.

Although it was aware of the case, the College of Nurses of Ontario had not changed her professional status, previously listing Reinhart on its website as “entitled to practice with no restrictions.”

In June 2015, as part of her release from custody, Reinhart agreed not to hold any job that gives her access to prescription drugs.

Six months ago, she resigned from the College of Nurses of Ontario, meaning she is not allowed to practise nursing in the province.

In 2011, a woman who was not a nurse stole the identity of a Toronto registered nurse and managed to get a job at Lanark Heights. Eva Okello, 37, passed herself off as Eva Klein and was hired through health-care employment agencies run by her boyfriend.

Okello was in charge of other nurses and personal support workers at Lanark Heights, the prosecution said in 2012. She worked there periodically for six months. She had previously got hired as a nurse at three other long-term care homes in Ontario.

Okello was sentenced to two years in prison.

Reinhart, meanwhile, is the second local health-care professional in court this year on charges involving drugs.

In April, family doctor Sarah McArthur, 44, was sentenced to two years in prison on drug, forgery, fraud and theft convictions. McArthur got hooked on fentanyl, a heroinlike painkiller, and turned to crime to feed her addiction.

She forged prescriptions for large numbers of fentanyl patches and thousands of pills of hydromorphone, another name for Dilaudid, the drug Reinhart stole. McArthur used some of the hydromorphone pills, but traded many of them to other people for fentanyl.

McArthur remains a member of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, but gave up her ability to write narcotic prescriptions in 2009 and agreed to stop practising in all jurisdictions in 2012.

The Cambridge resident was a highly respected family doctor in Waterford, south of Brantford.

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