MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Burnsville, Minn. man was charged with tampering with and stealing medications from a nursing home where he was working in Minneapolis on Wednesday, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said.
Daniel Thomas, 56, was charged with two counts of theft and two counts of adulterating a substance.
According to the criminal complaint, Thomas was a contract nurse who worked at medical facilities in the metro area.
On Jan. 17, 2013 he worked at a facility in Northeast Minneapolis.
At this facility, the pain medication was kept in two locked carts that only the nurses on duty had access to, officials said.
At the end of each shift, the nurse leaving would report to the nurse coming on duty what medication was given to each patient.
According to the criminal complaint, Thomas told the nurse relieving him on Jan. 17 that he had administered .25 milliliters of oxycodone to a patient.
On Jan. 22, that patient complained of an increase in pain and was given an increase in the oxycodone.
A few days later on Jan. 27, a nurse noticed that the drug looked diluted and watery when she was administering the medication. A new bottle was purchased and the patient’s pain diminished.
Officials said similar issues occurred the next time Thomas was contracted to work at that facility.
On Jan 28 and 29, Thomas worked a late evening/early morning shift.
He can be seen on video camera around 4:20 a.m. pushing the medication cart down a hallway with patients rooms and a bathroom, according to the criminal complaint.
For 20 minutes the cart cannot be seen on camera.
Officials said that a nurse who came in after Thomas at 7 a.m. was giving medication to patients when she noticed a discoloration of the morphine medication in several of the bottles.
After these instances, six bottles of morphine and one of oxycodone were sent to the Food and Drug Administration for testing.
According to the criminal complaint, the tests showed that the drugs had been diluted.
Investigators then searched Thomas’ garbage and house and recovered syringes and two bottles.
FDA tests revealed the bottles and syringes had traces of morphine and oxycodone, officials said.
Thomas was given the option of a conditional release at his first appearance as long as he made all subsequent court appearances, remained law-abiding and did not work or volunteer at any medical care facilities.
If found guilty, Thomas faces up to 10 years in prison, a $20,000 fine or both for both counts of theft, and five years in prison, a $10,000 fine or both for both counts of adulterating a substance.