After an employee stole pain medicine for months from a nursing home resident dying from pancreatic cancer, a nursing home in Lexington, South Carolina has finally agreed to pay $1 million to the family of the victim.
The employee responsible for the theft is set to stand trial for criminal charges in December, while another employee has already pleaded guilty for being an accessory to the crime and failing to report it.
Due to the habitual theft of his prescribed pain medication, the victim, Henry Sloan, spent the last several months of his life needlessly suffering from terminal cancer. The judge who presided over the former employee’s criminal trial called the case “one of the most callous things I’ve ever experienced.”
Medications ‘Go Missing’ All Too Often in Nursing Homes
Medications going missing and being stolen from residents at nursing homes is certainly nothing new. But as our country’s opioid crisis increasingly grows out of control, the fact that such powerful medications so easily can fall into the wrong hands at nursing homes is alarming.
In April, Levin & Perconti founding partner Steven Levin was interviewed for an ABC 7 Chicago iTeam investigation into a cryptic package sent to iTeam reporter Chuck Goudie. The package contained a box of fentanyl patches with an unsigned handwritten note that read “these lay around like candy.” The iTeam traced the package back to Westchester Health & Rehabilitation Center, a nursing home in Westchester, Illinois. Steven Levin said nursing homes leaving medications unattended without proper security measures in place is equivalent to drug dealing.
Westchester Health and Rehab is certainly not alone. Many other nursing homes have been accused of medication theft. To read some of their stories, please click on the links below.
- Crystal Lake, Illinois Nursing Home Employee Steals Drugs from Patient
- Nursing Assistant Charged with Stealing Pain Patches from Residents