A former Altoona Regional nurse hid the theft of painkillers by filling vials with saline, Altoona Regional Health System police allege.
Angela M. Packer, 38, of Alverda, Indiana County, worked as a registered nurse on Altoona Regional's 12th Floor and removed Demerol from vials meant for patients and replaced the pain medication with saline, according to charges filed before Magisterial District Judge Jeffrey P. Auker.
Packer stole Demerol for her own use from 25 vials that each held 50 milligrams of the drug, used to treat moderate and severe pain, police said. The theft was discovered July 7, police said.
An Altoona Regional spokeswoman declined to comment on the allegations.
A phone number listed for Packer was not in service Thursday.
Packer's actions may have put patients at risk of death or serious bodily injury because they could have received not enough pain medicine or had a reaction to the saline, Officer Matthew Miller wrote in the criminal complaint filed against Packer earlier this month.
Packer tried to cover up the theft by tampering with the hospital's computerized system for tracking medication dispensing, marking returned vials of saline to the hospital's supply as canceled orders, police said.
Charged with 25 felony counts of obtaining a controlled substance through fraud, forgery, deception or subterfuge as well as single misdemeanor counts of tampering with records, recklessly endangering another person theft by deception, theft by unlawful taking and possession of a controlled substance, Packer was notified of the charges by a summons, according to court records.
Sept. 12 is Packer's first scheduled court appearance in Central Court.
Packer has held a registered nurse's license since 2008, according to the Pennsylvania Department of State. No disciplinary actions were recorded for her license as of Thursday, a state website showed.