Clark County nurses sentenced for stealing patient medication

Two Clark County nurses have been sentenced for stealing narcotics medication from patients following an investigation by the Indiana Attorney General’s Office.

Amanda Vest, a nurse who previously worked at Maple Manor Christian Home in Sellersburg, pleaded guilty to three felony charges of knowingly or intentionally taking possession of controlled substances without creating required records of either administering or destroying the drugs. Matthew Wiggins, a nurse who previously worked at Riverview Village nursing home in Clarksville, pleaded guilty to three felony charges of forgery and obtaining controlled substances by fraud and deceit.

In Vest’s case, discrepancies were initially discovered in a Maple Manor patient’s narcotics medication, which had been signed out but never administered, according to a May probable cause affidavit. When Vest was determined to have signed out the medication, an audit was conducted of all residents’ medications in the hall in which Vest worked, unveiling similar discrepancies with other patients.

An investigation conducted by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit revealed that between Jan. 1 and March 22, 2018, Vest committed the illegal activity 61 times in violation of state law.

Similarly in Wiggins’ case, an MCFU investigation revealed numerous discrepancies with medication documentation prepared by Wiggins involving multiple does of hydrocodone and oxycodone, according to his PCA. The investigation found that between Nov. 5, 2017, and Jan. 13, 2018, Wiggins took medicine from patients’ supplies at least 55 times.

Wiggins was also found to have forged another nurse’s initials as a purported witness to his wasting of a controlled substance, accessed medications when he was not clocked in to work, and lied to a patient who had requested pain medication by telling the patient the supply had yet to arrive at the facility.

A Clark County judge hand down a three-year sentence to both Vest and Wiggins on Thursday. Vest’s sentence was suspended probation, while Wiggins served 30 actual days in jail, with the remainder of his sentence suspended to probation.

Both Vest and Wiggins are required to meet various requirements, including performing community service, undergoing any recommended substance abuse treatment and submitting to random drug testing.

Due to her previously clean record, Vest can have her offenses reduced to misdemeanors in two years, the OAG said in a Thursday news release.

“Hoosiers place a special kind of trust in medical professionals responsible for caring for the infirm,” Attorney General Curtis Hill said in a statement. “Recognizing that these individuals have access to controlled substances, we depend on them to follow the law and to administer medications according to appropriate guidelines. Our office works continually to ensure that those who violate this trust are held accountable.”

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