The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

April 20, 2013

Nurse accused of stealing narcotics

By Melissa Klaric
Herald Staff Writer

SHARON — A Sharon man was arrested Wednesday and accused of stealing a large quantity of narcotics last year from Sharon Regional Health System while on duty as a registered nurse.

Mark Joseph Darby, 26, of 159 Ormond Ave., was charged by the state Attorney General’s bureau of narcotics investigation with seven counts of obtaining drugs by deception, conspiracy and possession of a controlled substance between Oct. 25 through Nov. 20.

The hospital reported that it appeared that Darby stole Xanax, an anti-depressant, and drugs used to treat pain, including: Ativan and Roxicodone tablets; and doses of pain drugs delivered by injection including morphine sulfate, Fentanyl, Ativan and  Dilaudid,  according to court papers.

Dilaudid is the brand name for a strong opiate drug called hydromorphone that is prescribed only in the hospital for severe pain. It is sometimes known on the street as “hospital heroin,” according to medical sources.

In December, SRHS risk managers met with a senior narcotics agent from the attorney general’s Butler office after automated printouts used to track medication given to patients showed discrepancies, police said.

These reports were said to show multiple narcotics “wastes” by Darby at unexplained times. Wasting is a term used by hospitals for medication that has been “contaminated” or “compromised.”

Police reports indicate hospital officials were alerted to the wastes because Darby signed out different medications at the same time, assigned drugs to patients other than his own, or charted them incorrectly.

Darby signed a complaint filed by the hospital and admitted, in his handwritten statement, to stealing the medication for personal use, police said.

Darby was released on $10,000 bond with a preliminary hearing set for May 10 in the  District Court of Judge Dennis M. Songer.