Woman Impersonates Nurse to Steal Drugs from Seattle Hospital
(SEATTLE) -- Dressed in slacks, a blue blouse and fluent in medical terminology, an unidentified woman walked into the rooms of two patients at the Swedish Medical Center, posing as a nurse. She then cut the tubes connecting them to their pain medications, according to the Seattle Police Department.
The nurse impostor, who police say walked confidently into the patients' rooms without arousing suspicion, is still at large.
On April 13, police said, the suspect entered a patient's room as he slept and tampered with his patient-administered pain medication machine. When the man awoke and asked the suspect what she was doing, she told him she would get his nurse, the police report said.
"When his nurse did come in, she found that the line from the machine to the witness had been cut and that the pain medication was dripping on the floor," the police report said.
Shortly after the first incident, police said a second report came in that the suspect was seen peeking into rooms on another floor and had entered the room of a second patient, whose family was visiting.
When an alarm sounded at the hospital, police said the suspect fled. A family member from the second patient's room reported there was blood on the floor and that the line to her mother's pain medication had been cut, police said.
The phony nurse walked out of the hospital undetected with two feet of tubing in tow, security told police. A nurse advised police that a negligible amount of pain mediation would have been inside the tuning, police said.
Swedish Medical Center notified police four days after the breach, said Det. Mark Jamieson.
He said it was unclear why the hospital waited to notify authorities.
"It's possible there is surveillance video. Our detectives are working with the hospital," he said.
Ed Boyle, spokesman for the hospital, said an internal investigation has been launched into the incident.
"Swedish is and has been working closely with Seattle Police over the course of the last week in hopes of identifying the suspect and preventing any further incidents at Swedish or any other area hospitals," he said in a statement. "Although a delay in reporting the incident to Seattle Police occurred, Swedish security staff continued to investigate the incident."
The suspect is described as a white female in her mid-30s to early 40s with blonde hair that is either shoulder length or pulled back into a pony tail.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Seattle Police Department.
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