A former pharmacy technician at HealthPark Medical Center is facing drug and theft charges after deputies said she was stealing narcotics from the hospital and replacing the drugs with sterile water.
Jessica Danielle Bramble, 24, is facing charges of adulterating a drug for distribution, grand theft of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance without a prescription.
She was charged Wednesday and released from the Lee County Jail on Thursday on a $4,500 bond.
Detectives began investigating the thefts in January of 2012 after employees reported seeing Bramble acting suspiciously around secured areas that housed vials of hydromorphone, a derivative of morphine, according to a Lee County Sheriff’s Office report.
A pharmacist at the hospital told investigators there were reports indicating Bramble had accessed the machine containing the drug with a frequency that was not consistent with normal business.
Investigators determined Bramble had been taking the drug from cartridges and then replacing it with sterile water from vials around the hospital and said she was involved in more than 40 instances between December of 2011 and January of 2012.
Lee Memorial Health System spokeswoman Mary Briggs said Bramble’s actions were immediately flagged by the hospital’s patient safety program.
“We didn’t find any cases of patients being harmed,” Briggs said.
Investigators said Bramble admitted in a phone interview to replacing the drug with sterile water, and she said she took the drug to give someone in her family who had a medical condition and an addiction to the narcotics.
Bramble also admitted to similar thefts when she worked at Gulf Coast Medical Center, but investigators didn’t know how many instances occurred at that hospital, according to the report.
Briggs said Bramble stopped showing up for work in 2012, right after the investigation started.
Article by Dennis Culver, www.news-press.com