Home E-Weekly February 14, 2017

Surgical Nurse Stole 43 Vials of Fentanyl in 3 Months

Published: February 13, 2017

CHARGED Stacey Loy Lawhorn, RN, allegedly took more than 40 vials of the synthetic opioid from a medical center in Boca Raton, Fla.

A 50-year-old surgical nurse faces a slew of charges after allegedly stealing dozens of fentanyl vials from an automated medication-dispensing cabinet at a medical center in Boca Raton, Fla.

Stacey Loy Lawhorn, RN, of Delray Beach, Fla., was arrested last week and charged with 44 counts of possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, as well as one count each of fraud and larceny. Officials allege Mr. Lawhorn took 43 vials of fentanyl and 1 vial of ketamine from West Boca Medical Center between November 2016 and January 2017.

According to the arrest report, Mr. Lawhorn allegedly pilfered the drugs from the medical center's dispensing cabinet, which would have required him to first enter a password and/or his fingerprint. In 20 of the 37 surgical procedures in which he allegedly withdrew fentanyl under a patient's ID, he either was not present for the surgery or did not directly participate in the surgery, court records show. He also allegedly withdrew the drug in 4 cases that did not call for the drug. Patients were billed for each vial that Mr. Lawhorn allegedly took.

Mr. Lawhorn tested positive for fentanyl after a Jan. 6 drug screen, records show, and the resulting search of his locker turned up an empty vial of fentanyl and a partially filled vial of the diuretic furosemide. The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office later served a search warrant at Mr. Lawhorn's residence, where officials said they discovered a vial of the anesthetic ketamine. During questioning, Mr. Lawhorn allegedly admitted to taking the drugs from West Boca Medical Center.

Attempts to reach Mr. Lawhorn and officials from West Boca Medical Center for comment were unsuccessful.

Bill Donahue

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