By Globe Staff, 3/26/2002 http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/08...n_theftP.shtml
A Plymouth home care agency has settled a lawsuit for $1 million after a nurse who lost her license in another state stole pain medication from a patient in the end stages of terminal cancer.
Centrus Premier Home Care agreed to the settlement on Friday as a jury at Brockton Superior Court began deliberations after a two-week trial, an attorney for the patient's family said yesterday. The money from the settlement will be paid to the two surviving children of John Smith, of Halifax, who died in September 1996.
The jury heard that Shalimar Ellis, Smith's nurse, pleaded guilty to six counts of stealing Smith's drugs in December of 1998. They also heard that Ellis was hired by Centrus after her nursing license had been revoked in California in 1993, according to Albert E. Grady, attorney for Smith's family. Ellis lost her license in California for stealing narcotics from patients in her care, but Centrus never checked Ellis's license status when it hired her, Grady said.
Last night, Centrus managers did not return a phone call.
During the trial, Centrus management admitted that the agency had received a tip about Ellis's past but still sent her to care for Smith. During the month that Ellis cared for him, Smith's pain was so intense he shook uncontrollably and cried out every time his daughter's car hit a bump when she drove him to the emergency room, Grady said.
Smith died a few weeks after Ellis was removed from her position. Ellis received a 21/2 year suspended sentence and now lives in North Carolina, Grady said.
This story ran on page B2 of the Boston Globe on 3/26/2002.
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