Seattle Police Hunt for Imposter Nurse Who Stole Pain Medication from Hospital
Authorities are asking for help from the public in order to identify a woman who impersonated a nurse in order to steal pain medication.
According to ABC News, the incident occurred on April 13 at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle. The woman entered a patient's room while he was sleeping and attempted to pry open the machine that was administering pain medication. He woke up in the process and, not recognizing her, asked her what she was doing.
The woman said that she would bring him his nurse. When his nurse arrived, she noticed immediately that the IV drip, which is supposed to insert the pain medication into the patient's body, had been disconnected. Tubing was also missing. However, the nurse noted that the amount of pain medication in the tubing would have been minimal.
The woman's mission continued. She was next spotted on a second floor of the hospital, peeking into patients' hospital rooms. When questioned by a staff member, the suspect explained that she was there to check on IV machines.
The woman entered a room, where she once again tried to fiddle with the machine of a second patient. As a result, an alarm sounded in the hospital, and the patient fled. A family member of the second patient reported that there had been blood on the floor after the incident, and that her mother's line to the pain medication had been cut.
The imposter nurse left the hospital with two feet of tubing without being detected. It is not clear why the hospital took so long to report the incident to police, though the hospital says that it was performing an internal investigation. The hospital says that none of the patients suffered any injuries as a result of the theft.
Police describe the theft as one of the most audacious that they had ever seen. "It's pretty unusual, pretty brazen," Seattle police spokeswoman Renee Witt said on Wednesday, according to Reuters. "It really shows how desperate this woman is and how powerful addiction can be."
The woman wore a blue blouse that resembled scrubs and clogs. She was also reportedly fluent in medical terminology. She is described as a white female who is in her mid-thirties to mid-forties. She has blonde hair that was pulled back in a ponytail; witnesses believe that it was shoulder-length.