A registered nurse has pleaded guilty to injecting herself with pain medication intended for patients and replacing it with saline solution.
Leyla Samadi, 53, also wrote four forged prescriptions for Percocet, a narcotic medication, and presented them to the CVS Pharmacy on Transit Road in Amherst.
Two of the prescriptions used the name of a certified midwife and two others used the name of a physician. Prosecutors say Samadi was caught on video surveillance filling the prescriptions and neither the midwife or physician actually authorized, issued, or signed the prescriptions.
Samadi, a former nurse at Sisters Hospital, pleaded guilty to illegally obtaining controlled substances by fraud. She could face up to four years in prison.
Prosecutors say between November 2014 and January 2015, Samadi would log into the Pyxis machine using her username and fingerprint scan. The machine is used to automatically dispense liquid pain medication, such as Demerol and Hydromorphone.
Samadi would allegedly take the medication to a patient’s room, scan the patient’s wristband and the medication, but then inject herself. Prosecutors say Samadi would replace the medication with a saline solution and then return it to the machine, canceling the transaction under the pretense of having the wrong medication or wrong patient.
It was clear, according to U.S. Attorney William Hochul, this was done several times.
"Of the 80 remaining viles that were turned over for sampling and testing, 75 of the 80 had in fact been tampered with. They were ready to go. Of those tampered with bottles, a percentage of them had only 10-percent of the effective drug remaining," Hochul said.
Samadi was fired in January. She was arrested earlier this month at her home in Maryland and charged with illegally obtaining a controlled substance by fraud.
Catholic Health released the following statement about the alleged incident:
"Catholic Health has cooperated fully with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Department of Health in an investigation involving a contracted agency nurse allegedly stealing controlled narcotic medications for personal use. Catholic Health officials worked closely with the Department of Health to assess the nurse’s activity and identify the alleged theft. The nurse under investigation was contracted to work on a per diem basis through an independent staffing agency and is not an employee of Catholic Health. Her contract was terminated and she has not worked at Catholic Health since the alleged incident."
Samadi was also let go from Woman & Children's Hospital. According to the federal complaint, Samadi started using at Children's Hospital.
The complaint says a discrepancy was noted at Children's, but the nurse was never questioned about the alleged thefts.
A spokesman for Children's Hospital said Samadi was not an employee, but rather a temporary per diem traveling agency nurse who worked briefly at Children’s Hospital back in October.
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