Vials of morphine were systemically stolen from a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center and replaced with water and saline so that dying veterans got the wrong treatments, a longtime VA nurse told The Daily Caller.
“A nurse taking care of hospice patients over the past year had been diverting vials of morphine,” said Valerie Riviello, a 28-year veteran nurse at the Albany Stratton VA Medical Center in Albany, New York. “Those patients that were dying in hospice were not getting their intended pain medication.”
Management became aware of the recurring theft without reporting it to higher levels of governance within the VA system, said Riviello, a Florence Nightingale Award winner for nursing.
The nurse detailed visible abuse of a machine that dispenses medication. Hospital staff need to punch in a code to get medicine from the machine. Vials of morphine were being replaced with other ingredients, including saline and water. Records continued to show the accurate number of withdrawals from the machine, but morphine was not getting to the patients. The abuse was not noticed by management for about a year, according to Riviello.
Albany Stratton VA Medical Center did not return a request for comment for this report.
Albany is not the only VA medical center that allegedly struggles with medicine theft. Insiders told TheDC that Oklahoma City’s inner city drug trade oozes with stolen goods from the Oklahoma City VA Medical Center.