Many medical conditions that are associated with advanced age require pain management and a plan for controlling the symptoms of the condition with prescription medications. There are many elderly Americans that are on more than one type of prescription medication at a time, often referred to as a prescription cocktail. But a licensed physician or medical specialist has prescribed each and every one of those medications to the elderly person specifically because he or she needs to be on those medications.
North Muskegon Nurse Accused of Stealing Resident’s Morphine
Many of the medications prescribed for pain management and cancer treatment are considered controlled substances. This means that the substance, such as Oxycontin, Lortab, or morphine, can be highly addictive. When nursing home residents need these kinds of medications, the medications are supplied to on-site pharmacies at nursing home facilities and then distributed to the appropriate residents during medication administration. However, many nursing homes are understaffed, including the on-site pharmacies, which can leave these addictive substances easily accessible to unmonitored nursing home staff members who have substance abuse problems. The availability and accessibility of these highly addictive substances may be too great of a temptation, which could lead to criminal activity, such as theft of a resident’s medications. When nursing home staff members steal medications from residents, it is a form of nursing home abuse.
Consider, for example, a recent news report about a Michigan nursing home staffer stealing pain medication for a resident. At the end of April, a scandal broke out at the Hillcrest Nursing Center located in North Muskegon, Michigan, when a nurse named Ruth Ellen Everett was accused of stealing a resident’s morphine. After a two-month-long investigation into the nurse and her activities at work, she was finally arrested and charged with abuse of a nursing home patient and larceny.
Medication Theft is a Growing Problem in The United States
There are many different techniques used by addicted staffers to get a hold of resident’s medications. For example, addict staffers might:
- Call in prescriptions that the resident does not need, no longer needs, or only needs occasionally;
- Forge medication logs to indicate medication was administered when it was in fact not administered to the resident; or
- Snatch a few pills from residents' medication cups when no one is watching, or if the resident is too senile to notice that he or she is short a few pills.
With so many understaffed nursing homes in the United States, prescription medication theft is a growing problem. The good news is, addicted staffers who steal from residents ultimately do get caught; however, the victim residents must suffer needlessly until the abusive and thieving staffer is discovered.
Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
When a nursing home resident’s prescription medications go missing, it is likely a sign of abuse. Someone somewhere knows the whereabouts of the missing medication or should be able to locate records indicating why the medication is not available for administration to the resident. If you are concerned that nursing home staff is stealing from your loved one who resides in an Illinois nursing home, please do not hesitate and contact an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer. We at the Rooth Law Firm are ready and available to assist you. Call us today at (800) 598-4348, or reach out to us online for a free consultation.