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Charges Filed Against Nurse Accused of Stealing Pain Medication from UPMC Northwest

Tuesday, July 27, 2021 @ 12:07 AM

Posted by Aly Delp

Screenshot at Jul 27 09-52-30CRANBERRY TWP., Pa. (EYT) – Criminal charges have been filed against a nurse formerly employed at UPMC Northwest for allegedly stealing pain medication from the facility.

Court documents indicate the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General on Friday, July 23, filed criminal charges against 38-year-old Jill Rebecca McMurdy, of Oil City.

The charges stem from an investigation into missing medication at UPMC Northwest Hospital.

According to a criminal complaint, on April 26, Narcotics Agents from the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General’s Erie Area Regional Office received a complaint from administration officials at UPMC Northwest regarding missing diverted medications.

The report indicated controlled substances were reported missing from the UPMC Northwest Hospital facility in Seneca and indicated an employee was involved with removing the substances from an automated medication dispensing machine.

According to the complaint, the employee involved was reported to be Jill McMurdy, a registered nurse. The report also indicated UPMC administrative staff had conducted an investigation, and McMurdy’s employment was terminated following the conclusion of the investigation.

The Attorney General agent then began an investigation into the theft.

An initial review of McMurdy’s prescription record showed that McMurdy was lawfully receiving “a strong dosage” of hydrocodone medications, an opioid used to treat severe pain, on a monthly basis, the complaint notes.

Records provided by UPMC – including a DEA loss of missing controlled substance medication report – then showed that McMurdy had withdrawn medications between March 3 and April 16 that were not administered to patients and were not wasted/destroyed or returned. The pharmacy staff began to receive medication administration errors concerning McMurdy and began a review of her medication withdrawals.

According to the complaint, McMurdy withdrew controlled substances on 44 occasions and failed to report the administration, waste, or return of the substances. Staff then conducted a review of other possible medication errors, but found none. No software or computer malfunctions were discovered, either.

The missing medications were noted to be primarily powerful high strength, highly addictive opioid pain medications. A detailed list of the missing controlled substances was provided, which included hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, lorazepam, hydromorphone, and tramadol, the complaint indicates.

During the investigation by the hospital staff, McMurdy initially denied taking the medications and said she had administered the medicine without documenting it, blaming “staffing and computer problems” for the discrepancies, but later reportedly admitted to taking the medication for her own personal use, the complaint states.

McMurdy was also interviewed by the Attorney General agent and reportedly denied having anything to do with the missing medication. She told the investigator the medication dispensing system had “medication scanner issues” and was not functioning properly and also said she had been “overworked and at times understaffed,” the complaint continues.

In addition, McMurdy told the investigator her meeting during the initial staff investigation was “confrontational and accusatory,” and she was blamed for the missing medications, but no pharmacy staff was present to verify the discrepancies, according to the complaint.

The complaint notes that McMurdy admitted to the investigator that she is legally prescribed prescription pain medications, but said she had no history of abusing them, and did not have any involvement with the missing medication.

McMurdy was arraigned in front of Magisterial District Judge Matthew T. Kirtland at 1:21 p.m. on July 23 on the following charges:

– Acquire Or Obtain Possession Of Controlled Substance, Felony
– Possession of Controlled Substance, Misdemeanor
– Refusal To Keep Records Required By Act, Misdemeanor
– Theft By Unlawful Taking-Movable Property, Misdemeanor 3

She is currently free on $5,000.00 unsecured bail.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on August 4 in Venango County Central Court with Judge Kirtland presiding.

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