Archive for Thursday, May 18, 2006

Ex-nursing-home worker gets jail time for drug theft

May 18, 2006

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A former nursing-home caregiver will spend 15 weekends in jail for stealing morphine from two elderly patients, despite her request to avoid jail so she could breastfeed her child.

During her sentencing Tuesday in Douglas County District Court, Erica A. Bay, 29, blamed drug addiction for her actions. She entered a plea earlier this year to two counts of mistreatment of a dependent adult, for the thefts in January 2005 at Pioneer Ridge Retirement Community, 4851 Harvard Road.

"I'm very sorry for the mistakes I've made and the many people I've hurt," she told Judge Paula Martin. "Drug addiction is a very powerful and terrible disease ... I am a drug addict, and I must remember that every day for the rest of my life."

At the time of her plea, the prosecution said Bay admitted taking several skin patches off patients and pouring morphine into her hand and then into her mouth.

One of the patients, 96-year-old Evin "John" Dillard, died shortly afterward. Family members say they don't believe the loss of morphine contributed to his death, but that it caused him more suffering in his last days.

Bay's attorney, Angela Keck, asked Martin to order only probation, not jail time. She said Bay was now drug-free, was remorseful and needed to be at home to breastfeed her son.

But Assistant Dist. Atty. Brandon Jones said the case called for punishment and asked Martin to give a 30-day sentence. Even though drug addiction is a disease, he said, it's one that Bay brought upon herself through her choices.

He said at the time of this crime that Bay already was on probation in Cowley County for a drug crime.

Martin granted his request.

"I do think it's an egregious crime that you've committed," she told Bay.

Dillard's son, John, attended the hearing and said he was satisfied with the outcome. He also said he was pleased overall with Pioneer Ridge's treatment of his father, with the exception of Bay's actions.

Keck asked the judge whether Bay could make accommodations to pump breast milk while in jail. Martin said she didn't know and that Bay would need to make arrangements.

Lt. Kari Wempe, a Douglas County sheriff's spokeswoman, said the jail had made those accommodations in the past.

Comments

Michael Birch 9 years, 1 month ago

Drugs, drugs, and more drugs! Where does it end? If

you can't trust healthcare workers who can you trust?

Sure, you expect these acts from the ordinary, average,

everyday person but not from someone who is a

nurse! This person is in the same category as Robert

Courtney who was the crooked Kansas City

pharmacist who diluted medications intended for

cancer patients. In the article, they say she was

already on probation for a drug charge in another

county. Whatever happened to background checks?

Yes folks, this one is truely pathetic. In addition to jail

time followed by probation maybe a good whipping

might be in order!

DHD

dthroat 9 years, 1 month ago

DHD- OK this one is "truely pathetic", but somehow running a crack house should be ignored?????? At least that what I got from your posts yesterday. The Drug War is dead (it really is) and we should ignore it.

Isn't this part of the drug culture and drug problem also.

I do think this is totally unforgivable and probably needs an even stiffer sentence, but find your change of attitude interesting.

angel4dennis 9 years, 1 month ago

It is a shame that she caused pain to others when she was a trusted part of their care. I think the county should test the breast milk before allowing her to give it to her baby. There in itself may be another crime waiting. Drugs are a hard habit to kick, I wish her and her baby well.

Nikki May 9 years, 1 month ago

She's not single. BUT, I think I'd have to be mad at the facility here. She was on probation for drugs in another county. I don't know if they do drug testing for this job, maybe they do and she passed. However, I KNOW they have to do a KBI check. Did it not show up on there that she had a past?

OldEnuf2BYurDad 9 years, 1 month ago

Yeah, HDH, you quickly changed your tune. You can't be permissive about it and hard core all at the same time.

Enforcer: I also know a lot about addictions, and I share your sentiment of support for the addicted, but one thing about this has me very concerned. She said "I am a drug addict", but also insists upon breast feeding? I'm no doctor, but common sense says that if she's not in control of her addiction, she has NO business sharing fluids with her child!

KansasKel 9 years, 1 month ago

Nurses actually have a very high rate of addiction problems. It definitely is unethical and I'm not defending it, but just statistically speaking it's a fact.

I wonder if maybe she had been charged but not convicted in the Cowley County incident when she was hired at Pioneer Ridge and that's how she got around the background check.

I hope for her sake and the sake of her children that she is able to stay clean. Do they do mandatory drug testing at the jail?

Confrontation 9 years, 1 month ago

"I do think it's an egregious crime that you've committed," she (Martin) told Bay.

Too bad Martin didn't feel this way about the gang rape of a young girl. I suppose abusing a child isn't as bad as sucking on a morphine patch in Martin's world.

Christine Pennewell Davis 9 years, 1 month ago

some one can say "Iam an addict" and that does not mean they are using. Once an addict always and addict weather you are clean one day or 100 years. It is always true so to claim to be an addict does not mean she was using but even if she was not what she did was wrong and against the law. so court here you go. Of course unless you have connections, yeah read that story also, must be nice sweep it under the carpet and not get her any help yeah real smart daddy.

pundit 9 years, 1 month ago

Drugs are a health issue. The 'war on drugs' has been/will be a failure.

Sounds like an appropriate disposition in my view. Hope the lady receives the support she needs in her fight to stay clean.

Cait McKnelly 9 years, 1 month ago

This woman was a nurses assistant and not a nurse. She did not have access to the facilities narcotics. That was why she was stealing patches from patients. I'm a bit dusturbed that everyone including the authors of the repeated articles about this case keep referring to the patches as "morphine" patches. They are not morphine. The drug in reference is fentanyl, a syntheic opiod that is similar to morphine but is 80 times more powerful. Does anyone remember the Moscow siege in October 2002 where 117 hostages were killed? That was Fentanyl gas that killed them. This is POWERFUL stuff. A patch is supposed to last a patient three days. The membrane on the patch keeps it from entering the system all at once and the manufacturer recommends that if the patch gets cut or begins to leak to immediately destroy it. This woman was deliberately cutting the patch and eating the gel plus getting what was absorbed through her hand. Truth be told, she's lucky she didn't die from drug overdose.

noodle 9 years, 1 month ago

I worry about the children. Sounds like the mom is trying but it will be a hard road for everyone.

JimmyJoeBob 9 years, 1 month ago

Why did she get Jail time while initially the three men who raped the 13 year old girl got probation.

yellowhouse 9 years, 1 month ago

My concern would be for the baby. If she has a drug problem seems that breastfeeding might be something she should reconsider.

Susan Mangan 9 years, 1 month ago

punkrockmom - I'm just curious about the KBI check...is that required for CNAs, I assume? Or is it just for nursing homes? I'm an RN and applied for a job there a few years ago when I was getting burnt out at the hospital where I worked. I decided to stay at the hospital, but, practically before I could blink, I was hired and scheduled for orientation at Pioneer Ridge. There was no criminal background check (although I think there SHOULD be). I know for your Kansas RN license you don't need a background check...it IS grounds for revocation of your license if you lie and they find out, though. In Missouri, you need to submit a finger print card for FBI check, but there is nothing remotely similar in Kansas. Anyway...I was just curious if the KBI check is required for CNAs, or for nursing homes, or what. If it's for nursing homes, then they didn't do one when they hired me. With the types of abuse you hear about at many of those places, I hope they're required to do some kind of check. Come to think of it, Pioneer Ridge is the only place that didn't require a drug test prior to orientation...although it's possible that would have occured during the orientation process, I suppose. I've never had a nursing job make it that far without one, though. Just for the record...I do understand how abuse of drugs can happen with some nurses...although that certainly doesn't excuse it. But no matter how addicted you are, stealing pain relief from anyone in terminal pain is cruel and tortuous, in my opinion. I truly hope she does recover her addiction, though, and leads a more productive life in the future. It's just sad, all around.

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