Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations
June 2, 2011: Licensed Practical Nurse Charged with Tampering
Wendy M. Parmenter, 37, Emporia, Kan., a licensed practical nurse, is charged with one count of tampering with a consumer product and one count of adulterating a prescription drug. The crimes are alleged to have occurred in November 2010, in Lyon County, Kan.
The indictment alleges the crimes took place while Parmenter was working as an LPN at Rolling Hills Health Center in Topeka, Kan., which is a nursing home. Parmenter was addicted to Hydrocodone, a painkiller, and frequently ingested morphine prescribed to her patients. When two empty bottles of morphine sulfate were discovered at Rolling Hills Health Center, the nursing director ordered personnel with access to narcotics to have oral swab drug tests. Parmenter failed the drug tests. She passed two subsequent urine drug tests because she convicted another employee to provide urine that she submitted as her own.
A 105-year-old woman who was a patient in the hospital was suffering from dementia and chronic pain. Her physician prescribed morphine sulphate for the pain. Parmenter ingested morphine from the patient’s bottle and added tap water to the bottle to disguise the theft.
If convicted, Parmenter faces a maximum penalty of 10 years and fine up to $250,000 on the charge of tampering with a consumer product and a maximum penalty of three years and a fine up to $250,000 on the charge of adulterating a prescription drug.
The Food and Drug Administration investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tanya Treadway is prosecuting.