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Nurse Taken Into Federal Custody For Stealing Painkillers From Patients

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A nurse who formerly worked in the University of Colorado Hospital was taken into federal custody after being accused of stealing vials of a potent painkiller and replacing them with other substances to cover her tracks.

30-year-old Kacye Unruh was arrested at her house in Aurora after she was indicted on several charges, according to an article by CBS Denver. Her charges included making false statements, deceitfully obtaining a controlled substance and tampering with a consumer product.

Unruh allegedly stole two kinds of powerful painkillers while working at UCH’s dialysis unit – fentanyl and hydromorphine. Fentanyl is a fast-acting narcotic analgesic and sedative that is used to prevent pain after surgery or other medical procedures. Hydromorphine is also a strong opioid analgesic drug used as a substitute for morphine and is used for the relief of moderate to severe chronic pain. UCH said that Unruh was fired from the hospital when a discrepancy was found in the dialysis unit.

Documents with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Denver state that:

Unruh refilled the vials of fentanyl and hydromorphine with saline solution and other fluids, and was caught trying to glue the vials’ caps back on.

Unruh has been charged by federal prosecutors with abusing six patient prescriptions from June 29 to July 12. On August 4, her license was suspended by the Colorado Board of Nursing.

This was not the first time that Unruh has been accused of a crime. Her husband told CBS4 that she had been hired from a hospital in Oklahoma. Court documents reveal that Unruh lied to Oklahoma authorities about stealing fentanyl and replacing the it with water or Benadryl.

UCH informed CBS Denver that no patients were harmed by Unruh’s actions. Out of an abundance of caution, however, the hospital tested nearly 50 patients for Hepatitis C. No transmission has been reported.

UCH stated that before firing her, Unruh passed a background check and that no negative strikes appeared on her record at the time.

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