Kentucky Nursing Home Staffers Arrested for Stealing Patients’ Medication
Recently, two nurses at Kentucky nursing homes have been in the news for stealing medication from patients. The first case involves Jinger Butler. For six months in 2010, Ms. Butler allegedly took medication from 10 patients at Cumberland Valley Manor Nursing Home in Burkesville, Kentucky, and replaced them with different pills. She has been charged with 11 counts of theft of a controlled substance, which can result in a sentence of one to five years of jail time. She has also been charged with 11 counts of neglect because patients were denied proper care by her when she failed to administer their prescribed medications. The neglect charges carry a sentence between five and ten years.
In Paducah, Kentucky a similar situation occurred in December 2011. Lisa Helton was a nurse at Superior Care Home on Clay Street in Paducah. She was in charge of the medication cart on the night of December 20th when she took 12 tablets of Norco, a pain killer medication, which was supposed to be given to a patient. Ms. Helton was fired from the nursing home and arrested.
While the above two cases hit close to home for Kentuckians, this problem is occurring across the nation. In Danvers Massachusetts, a 29-year-old nurse was arraigned on January 20 in Salem District Court. She has been charged with taking patients’ prescribed pain medications and replacing them with over-the-counter medications in the fall of 2011. Before she proceeds to court, she will be allowed to receive treatment for drug addiction. She will most likely be admitted to a program offered by the state specifically for nurses with drug or alcohol abuse issues. Kentucky offers a similar program called “KARE,” or the Kentucky Alternative Recovery Effort for Nurses. The program offers nurses a chance to be treated for their dependency without losing their job or license.
Whether or not the two Kentucky nurses have a drug addiction is unclear. What is clear is that they failed to provide care to at least 12 Kentucky nursing home residents even though it was their duty to do so. Hopefully the patients did not suffer any serious side effects because of these nurses’ actions, and hopefully the nurses will receive any treatment they need. If the patients were impacted negatively by this neglect, they or their families need to contact a Kentucky nursing home attorney to determine what action needs to be taken. Steven Frederick is a Kentucky personal injury attorney who is dedicated to helping his clients through difficult situations such as nursing home neglect or abuse.
Former nurse at nursing home faces neglect, theft charges; The Courier-Journal; January 25, 2012
Nurse who worked at Burkesville facility charged with neglect, theft; Herald-Leader; Valarie Honeycutt Spears; January 24, 2012
Nurse accused of taking patient’s meds; kfvs.com; Christy Hendricks; December 22, 2011
Former Danvers nurse arraigned for stealing prescription pain killers; Globe Staff; Justin Rice; January 20, 2012