Nurses death an apparent overdose

  1. http://inq.philly.com/content/inquir...s/SNURSE30.htm
    Nurse's death an apparent overdose

    The Chester County coroner is awaiting test results. A syringe was found near the body.

    By Ericka Bennett and Marc Schogol
    INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS
    http://inq.philly.com/content/inquir...s/SNURSE30.htm

    CALN - A nurse found dead in a locked bathroom at the Brandywine Hospital and Trauma Center Wednesday died of an apparent drug overdose, the Chester County coroner said yesterday.

    "[The autopsy] is consistent with earlier findings that point to an accidental drug overdose," coroner Rodger Rothenberger said. He said he would make his final ruling when toxicology reports come back in about two weeks.

    If the death is ruled an overdose, this would be the second such case at the hospital in the last four months. On July 23, a 28-year-old staff nurse from Norristown died from an accidental overdose of injectable morphine, Rothenberger said.

    A syringe was found near the body of the latest victim - a 31-year-old Newtown Square, Delaware County, woman from a nursing temporary agency - according to Caln Police Chief James Franciscus.

    In addition, an injectable narcotic was missing from the floor she worked on, said Rothenberger, who did not identify either the victim or the narcotic. Chester County Detective Lt. George Painter said the woman had completed a shift on the hospital's medical surgery unit.

    Rothenberger said the woman's name was not being released to protect the family's privacy. Police and hospital officials also would not release the name of the temporary agency the woman worked for.

    While the coroner did not identify the narcotic, he did say that the hospital has a system to prevent medication dispensing errors. The hospital uses an automated medication control and dispensing system that is meant to "increase accountability," Rothenberger said.

    The system keeps an account of medications and patients to whom they should go. It is believed that the woman may have tampered with the machine so that it gave a false error reading, Rothenberger said.

    In a statement released yesterday afternoon, hospital officials said: "Brandywine Hospital extends our sympathy to the family of the nurse who died in our facility. We are cooperating fully with the authorities investigating this tragic death, but cannot offer any further information at this time."

    What is known is that the victim had worked the 3 to 11 p.m. shift on Tuesday and was last seen at 11:30 p.m., Franciscus and Rothenberger said. The woman's family became alarmed when she did not come home and filed a missing-persons report, Rothenberger said.

    She was discovered about 4 p.m. the next day when one of the hospital's housekeeping employees found a unisex bathroom door locked, became alarmed, and called security. A hospital security officer then unlocked the door and found the body, officials said.

    The nurse found dead in July had been working at Brandywine Hospital for a couple of months and was not on duty when her body also was discovered in a bathroom, Rothenberger said. Officials would not release the woman's name.

    Chester County District Attorney Anthony Sarcione said there were no signs of violence to the body of the nurse found Wednesday. He said he could not comment further.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Jonathan Gelb of the Inquirer suburban staff contributed to this article.
    Ericka Bennett's e-mail address is ebennett@phillynews.com.

    ===============

    If the death is ruled an overdose, this would be the second such case at the hospital in the last four months. On July 23, a 28-year-old staff nurse from Norristown died from an accidental overdose of injectable morphine, Rothenberger said.
    TWO nurses dying within 4 months????? In a facility only 30miles from my home..............
    I wonder what the controls are accessing narcotics at this facility. Two nurses signing + witnessing narcotic waste can help decrease illegal access.
    Such a shame. Hope they have councilors educating the staff re addiction. Karen
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Dec 5, '01
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   dawngloves
    They probably had access to the Pixus.

    We had a problem with an agency nurse at a hospital I worked at.
    The night shift kept finding empty Demerol syringes. They figured out it was her when she emerged from the bathroom with blood seeping throught the thigh of her pants. Shift manager called, sent her to the ER for a tox screen. I don't know what happened. Wonder if it was the same nurse!?!

    (BTW, not an agency nurse bash )
  4. by   nurs4kids
    In six years, I've known three nurses in our hospital who were found to be abusing narcotics. All three of them have been in the past year. Perhaps this is a sign of the stresses of nursing? One of those here was caught just a week or so ago during a drug raid at a house where they were producing meth amph. (in the middle of the city, normally done in the rural areas). She ingested everything within reach during the raid. Last I heard, she wasn't doing very well. Another is a good friend/coworker of mine. I knew she had an alcohol problem and had encouraged her to seek help. We became suspicious of her drug abuse here at work when we noticed patients received more narcotics with her than other nurses. She's always been a big patient advocate, so I honestly felt she just was a little over reactive on pain prevention. I was wrong. She's still gone, in rehab or something, I'm not sure.

    Anyhow, this is a big problem in nursing. I think there needs to be more help available and more ways to prevent abuse.
  5. by   mopsi
    Is there any thoughts that these could be HOMOCIDES!!!! The doors to the bathroom could be rigged to close and self lock....Seems sort of coincidental in the timing and same scenario Hmmm??? I'd be cautious if I was working there.
  6. by   nurs4kids
    Originally posted by mopsi
    Is there any thoughts that these could be HOMOCIDES!!!! The doors to the bathroom could be rigged to close and self lock....Seems sort of coincidental in the timing and same scenario Hmmm??? I'd be cautious if I was working there.

    I had the same thought, mopsi!!!! Or else they've got some pretty lethal drugs there!!
  7. by   kids
    My thought was suicide rather than homicide...
  8. by   mopsi
    OMG ......SPELLING....I really meant HOMICIDE...am writing that 40 times on a piece of paper to never error on that again...But if suicide....why same way same place????that's odd too....I wonder how large of a staff 100? 500? Was there any connection between these two nurses? Friends? Lovers? same unit? did the have simular appearances??? I do acknowledge there are always substance abuse problems....but the deaths are unusual...someone can get a nice high tolerance going in no time..and its really hard to Overdose...
  9. by   kids
    Originally posted by mopsi
    OMG ......SPELLING....I really meant HOMICIDE...am writing that 40 times on a piece of paper to never error on that again...
    I'll confess, after several attempts I popped open Word, wrote a sentance and ran spell check


    (right handed, can't spell...there was a poll...)
    -nancy
  10. by   Zee_RN
    *giggle* Kids-r-Fun: "sentence" not "sentance" hehe. Sorry; couldn't resist since spelling was mentioned
  11. by   dawngloves
    Is there any thoughts that these could be HOMOCIDES!!!! The doors to the bathroom could be rigged to close and self lock....Seems sort of coincidental in the timing and same scenario Hmmm??? I'd be cautious if I was working there.
    I think you're hearing little black helicopters.
  12. by   mopsi
    LOL.......
  13. by   kids
    ...thwacka-thwacka-thwacka...



    I agree it does seem like an awfully big coincidense (did not use spell check )...can anybody out there give an idea on the size of the staff at this hospital, would be very suspicious if it's a small hospital with a small staff...
  14. by   NRSKarenRN
    Brandywine Hospital & Trauma Center

    Brandywine Hospital & Trauma Center is the counties only accredited Level II trauma center, offering 24-hour coverage by expert medical, surgical & nursing trauma team members. It is also the only hospital in the area offering private labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum rooms in its Maternity Care Center. Other unique features include Sky Flight Care, Laser surgery, Cardiovascular center, and Brandywine HealthTRAC, providing comprehensive outpatient diagnostic rehabilitative, fitness, sports medicine, behavioral and lifestyle services.

    Licensed + staffed for 182 beds. Karen

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