Almost two years has passed since one of the most stressful events occurred in my life. It is only now that I can write about it.
I was at work and I had taken a Motrin out of the medication machine to give a patient for pain. The next time I went to the medication machine it popped up that I had a partial dose to waste. This reminder is for narcotics so that they are wasted with a witness. I clicked on it to see who it was for and it was for the patient I had given the Motrin to. There was only one problem, I had not given that patient any morphine that day. I immediately thought who am I working with that would have pulled something out from under my name. I went straight to the day supervisor and reported it to her. She made a mental note and said we’d look into it later. Every time I signed in, the warning would pop up causing me to be suspicious of my co-workers. A couple of hours later one of my most favorite nurse buddies came up to the nurses station and said “there are NINETEEN vials of morphine missing from the medication machine”. I stopped dead in my tracks, my heart stopped beating and then said I have a partial waste on morphine that I never gave. So our awesome pharmacist sprung into action and contacted the director of pharmacy. As the pharmacist left she told me not to worry. This was on a Thursday. No one contacted me on Friday so I figured all was fine.
My next shift was Monday which happened to be leap day, my most favorite day ever. I called at ten to see if I was needed and the charge nurse said no. Shortly thereafter my manager called and said I needed to come in. Alarms, bells, and whistles all went off in my head. I went straight to her office and she informed me we were going to HR. Pure CR panic then ensued. She told me to relax, I had nothing to worry about. I kind of believed her until I saw we were joined by not only HR (thank god it wasn’t CC from the spare me incident or I would have died right there on the spot), but the director of pharmacy, and the director of women’s services (who was my manager at one time). I remember thinking this is some serious stuff right here.
So I spent the next thirty minutes talking with these people. I learned that someone had badged into the medication room about a minute after I left. This was when the morphine was removed. At this time I was in my patients room scanning the Motrin to give to her and could not be in both places at the same time. So the pharmacist told me I forgot to log out which is against policy. Well no kidding but he did admit nurses are distracted with their work phones and constant interruptions. The medication machine is a touch screen so it’s easy to think you have logged out when you didn’t hit the exit button quite right.
Up next was the HR guy who informed me I would need to take a drug test. If I refused I would be terminated immediately. If I took it then I would be sent home until the results were back. If they came back negative I would be paid as if I worked, if positive I would have to use PTO and other things would happen. I swear I said “bring on the pee test”. So off to employee health we went.
Normally I can pee every five minutes, any time, anywhere but not this day. I was so freaked out that it just wasn’t happening. I drank two glasses of water and cursed Dr. V’s sling. But finally I was able to go and then told I either had to have someone pick me up or be sent home in a cab. Because I had completed a for cause drug screen, they could not let me drive home. If I was indeed under the influence and then had an accident they would be liable. I could think of no one because my brain was shut down so I picked a cab and said no Uber. I had just watched Criminal Minds where a fired Uber driver went around killing people. They assured me it would be a cab.
I made my manager and the HR guy sit outside and wait for the cab to show up. It was beautiful that day. I wasn’t in the cab five minutes before I called my mom to tell her the story. I then texted Meg to tell her I was sent home in a cab. She responded I was lying so I took a picture of the inside of the cab. I chatted with the cab driver and told him it was the first time I had ever been in a cab. I told him my oldest had been in plenty. He found the story interesting. I finally made it home and then the waiting game began.
It was late Thursday before I was finally given my negative results and the green light to return to work. I was ok at home for the first day or so and then my imagination went crazy. I thought maybe I had busted up a drug ring and the DEA was going to show up at my door to question me. Nothing like that happened so I returned to work not knowing who stole the morphine. I did know it was not a women’s health nurse because they all worked during this time.
Three months later I was told who it was because the Missouri State Board of Nursing needed to talk to me. I was so shocked and it took a good two weeks for it to process fully. I never saw that person on the floor that day. I couldn’t decide if I should kick the person in the gonads or pray for them. I chose to keep it to myself even after I spoke to the board. Then the wait began for the investigation to be over with and this nurse be charged.
I waited twenty months before the paperwork showed up on the state board website. I read it and was in shock and disbelief. This person was only charged with testing positive for marijuana in their urine and then terminated from Mercy. I couldn’t believe they had gotten by with stealing morphine and putting me through hell. At this point I was back to wanting to kill this person but I decided once the actual state board of nursing came out with the person’s name listed I would finally reveal it.
It was this past Friday when the paper came to my house. Almost two years have passed and seeing it in black and white made me even more mad. First of all this person got away with stealing. Second of all it looks like this person is a recreational pot smoker instead of the narcotic stealer they really are. Justice was not served at all. Today I started thinking I wonder how people feel whose family members are murdered and the murderer gets away with it. That has to be a million times worse.
Leap day will always be my favorite day but I will also remember this until the day I die. I tell all new nurses to be very diligent about logging out of the medication machine because you never know who may sneak in behind you. I am sure they all think I am insane but I wouldn’t want anyone to go through the stress I went through or being so mad at the injustice of it all. I have to constantly tell myself God will take care of it in His time and in His way. He really should just listen to me and do it MY way.
Mole Moral ~ Those who have nothing to hide, hide nothing. This makes life so much easier.