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Memorial Hospital Places Nurse on Administrative Leave for Drug Diversion

Hospital news | Wednesday, June 14, 2017
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Contact: Karl Hertz

Douglas, Wyoming On Friday, June 2, 2017, Memorial Hospital of Converse County (MHCC) officials placed a Registered Nurse on administrative leave after discovering the nurse had been diverting Hydromorphone (Dilaudid), a Schedule II narcotic since September of 2016. According to CEO Ryan Smith, hospital pharmacy staff discovered irregularities in the access of Dilaudid during a routine review of the hospital's Pyxis MedStation™ automated medication dispensing system on June 2, 2017.

MHCC officials immediately reported the drug diversion to the Wyoming State Board of Nursing, Wyoming State Board of Pharmacy, and the Douglas police department. On Thursday, June 8, 2017, the nurse's license was summarily suspended by the Wyoming State Board of Nursing, and the nurse is currently not authorized to practice nursing in any capacity in the State of Wyoming. The nurse has been tested for Hepatitis C and HIV and is not infected with either.

MHCC officials are now reviewing current procedures involving the administration of controlled substances within the hospital, and identifying ways to further strengthen internal controls, and identify safeguards to reduce future risk.

Patients who were given Dilaudid at MHCC between September 13, 2016 and June 2, 2017 may not have received this medication at the prescribed and documented dose, as certain vials of the drug were being compromised by the nurse. If you were a patient at MHCC during this time, and received Dilaudid, the hospital has established a dedicated phone line (307) 358-7345 to call to answer any questions you have.

In a statement CEO Ryan Smith said "On behalf of our entire organization, I want to apologize to our employees, community, and, most importantly, to any patient who may have been affected by this nurse's drug diversion. All of our employees and providers have been working very hard to improve our organizational culture and values, and we were all devastated to learn this drug diversion took place here."