BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — A former registered nurse of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center has been charged by the U.S. Attorney's Office with stealing pain medication, among other charges.
According to U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr., 27-year-old Kelsey Mulvey, of Grand Island, is charged with the tampering of a consumer product, acquiring controlled substances by fraud and HIPAA violations.
According to a criminal complaint, Mulvey used her position as a nurse to take and tamper with vials of medication and pills, including hydromorphone (Dilaudid), methadone, oxycodone and lorazepam.
Prosecutors say Mulvey was placed on administrative leave in June 2018 after it was discovered that she allegedly removed those controlled substances from an automated medication dispensing system and replaced them with water.
It is believed that between February and June 2018, Mulvey is accused of failing to properly administer medication for 81 patients, and some of those patients allegedly became infected as a result, according to prosecutors.
Mulvey resigned from her position at Roswell Park in July 2018.
Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center issued this statement on the investigation:
"In 2018, we suspected that a healthcare worker was removing controlled substances from Roswell Park. Having zero tolerance for this behavior, Roswell Park immediately informed the New York State Department of Health, the NYS Department of Education and the Bureau of Narcotics and Tobacco Enforcement, U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and NYPORT.
At the time of this investigation, all patients who could have received contaminated medication were notified and appropriate medical follow-up was completed. We have also learned through the investigation that our nurses advocated for those patients for whom their pain did not seem to be sufficiently relieved and took appropriate action to relieve their pain.
Since that time, we have taken significant organizational steps to enhance ongoing prevention, detection and response to health care worker drug diversion.
These include heightened surveillance with high-tech software, on-campus security features, review and revision of current policy and procedures, and increased staff training and education on what they can do to keep their patients and themselves safe as it relates to drug diversion. We have also enhanced dedicated resources for the diversion prevention program.
According to the Journal of Clinical Nursing, approximately 20% of nurses struggle with an addiction to drug or alcohol, and one in 10 physicians will follow into drug or alcohol abuse at some point in their lives, mirroring the general population."
If convicted, Mulvey faces up to 10 years in prison. She has been released on conditions.
Our 7 Eyewitness News I-Team uncovered this investigation back in September 2018.
The I-Team learned back in September that Mulvey was allegedly taking narcotics from syringes and replacing the medication with water.