By Brian Maass
GREELEY, Colo. (CBS4) – A registered nurse who worked at North Colorado Medical Center was charged Thursday with stealing fentanyl and morphine from the hospital’s stockpile.
A federal magistrate informed registered nurse Marlene Tighe Gilmore she was facing one count of obtaining a controlled substance by deceit or subterfuge.
Gilmore, 28, pleaded not guilty during a brief court appearance.
Gilmore “has been proactive in terms of public health concerns. Her family and their well being was second. Putting public health first was her main concern with this,” Gilmore’s attorney David Miller said.
Miller said he could not say more about Gilmore’s case.
State nursing records show that in March 2016, authorities at North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley suspected Gilmore of diverting drugs after noticing a high number of withdrawals and returns to the hospital’s medication dispensing system.
They say an audit showed the RN had canceled or removed 143 transactions between January 7,2016 through March 4, 2016. The audit showed the orders Gilmore had been handling were for fentanyl, morphine, and hydromorphone.
In a statement to CBS4, Banner Health, the parent company of North Colorado Medical Center, said “Banner Health has cooperated with local, state and federal authorities regarding the theft of injectable narcotic medications by a former nurse at North Colorado Medical Center. Patient safety is Banner’s first priority. Based on our own investigation, and investigations by state and federal agencies, it was concluded that patients were not harmed or exposed to infection as a result of these events.
On March 8, 2016, Gilmore underwent a drug screen which came back positive for Fentanyl and another opiate. She resigned the next day. State nursing authorities said last October that Gilmore “excessively used or abused a controlled substance”. She entered into a drug rehabilitation program according to state records.
Federal Magistrate Michael Hegarty allowed Gilmore to be released on a personal recognizance bond. He said she faces a maximum of four years in prison and a $250,000 fine.