BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — A former registered nurse of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center pleaded guilty to tampering with a consumer product Wednesday.
In June 2019, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced 28-year-old Kelsey Mulvey, of Grand Island, was charged with the tampering of a consumer product, acquiring controlled substances by fraud and HIPAA violations.
Mulvey appeared virtually in federal court Wednesday and pleaded guilty to one count of tampering with a consumer product. The other charges were dropped as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors.
She resigned from her position at Roswell Park in July 2018 and surrendered her nursing license at the beginning of the case.
Mulvey admitted to the following in court:
- She stole and tampered with controlled substances via medication dispensing machines across the Roswell campus.
- She was taking drugs, replacing them with water and placing the water filled vials back into the machines.
- She searched patient cases to find out who was on the drugs she wanted and used that patient info to access the medication dispensing machine.
- She was taking the drugs for her own use.
- She was aware of the risk she was placing patients in but was indifferent to that fact.
Six patients became ill due to water borne bacteria and it was determined Mulvey's actions were to blame.
The provisions of the plea agreement include:
- 97 months or less in prison.
- Period of supervision after release.
- Must pay restitution to the victims.
The charge holds a 10 year max prison sentence and she will be sentenced at a later date .
Mulvey agreed to surrender any medical license she has and she will not be barred from getting one in the future.
Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center issued this statement on the investigation in June 2019:
"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."
Our 7 Eyewitness News I-Team uncovered this investigation back in September 2018.